Fenway’s Opening Day proves well for Sox
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As the baseball season officially kicked off on Sunday, the Boston Red Sox hosted Opening Day for the first time in seven years on a comfortable Monday afternoon at Fenway Park.
The Sox went head to head against the Pittsburgh Pirates and got their first win of the season with a final score of 5-3.
Before the game, the American flag was draped vibrantly over the wall of the Green Monster as the National Anthem was sung and two F-15Cs were heard soaring overhead. It was indeed a great day for baseball.
Patriots players Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis, James White and owner Robert Kraft took the field for the pregame ceremony, each holding a Lombardi Championship trophy. Brady threw out the first pitch and the group exclaimed “play ball” to get the game underway.
Brady and Gronkowski got a laugh out of the crowd as Brady held up his game worn Super Bowl jersey that was recently recovered by authorities. Gronkowski grabbed the jersey from Brady’s hands and ran for the outfield, but not before Brady tackled him to the ground.
As the Red Sox players and staff were called out onto the field, the Sox new ace Chris Sale was given a massive round of applause and many cheers from the crowd.
Last year’s Cy Young winner Rick Porcello took the mound for the Sox as the Opening Day starter for the first time in his career. He had an impressive start to his outing going six full innings without giving up a run.
In total Porcello pitched 6 1/3 innings, gave up six hits, three earned runs, one walk and had five strikeouts.
“Everything leading up to it, the first time back out there, it’s exciting,” said Porcello to the media post-game. “Opening Day is a holiday for us in baseball. There’s definitely those nerves you battle a little bit. When you get between the lines, it gets back to business.”
The game was scoreless on both sides until the bottom of the fifth inning when center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. started a rally for runs with a two-out triple to right field. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval drove Bradley in with a base hit for the first run of the season.
The Red Sox would go on to score another run, but all eyes were on Red Sox rookie Andrew Benintendi as the 22-year old launched a three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to get the crowd absolutely roaring.
“It’s awesome — something you dream about as a kid,” Benintendi said to the media post-game. “For it to be here, it’s awesome.”
The Red Sox found themselves with a 5-0 lead until the seventh inning when Porcello got himself into a pinch with runners on base. Pitcher Matt Barnes came in to relieve Porcello, but ended up giving up two runs that would make the game 5-3.
It took Robby Scott and Heath Hembree to bring the Sox to the ninth inning where Craig Kimbrel would close out the game. Kimbrel who let several runners on managed to compose himself to end the game with a win.
Without relievers Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa, the Red Sox may struggle to find some middle men in their bullpen.
“Without a lockdown eighth inning guy, we’re going to have to mix and match,” Farrell said to the media after the game.
Two of Boston’s promising relievers Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith find themselves sidelined with injuries to start the season.
Thornburg, who has a shoulder injury, is currently not allowed to start throwing for a little under a week and Smith whose elbow is injured should join the team at some point in June.
The Red Sox victory is just one of many games to come in a season where they will fight to be back in the race to become World Series Champions.