After two years of terrible starts, the Red Sox did a good job of getting some good feelings going early. After Dustin Pedroia provided the only baserunner in a relatively quick first inning for CC Sabathia, Jarrod Saltalamacchia got the Boston attack going in the second by drawing a five-pitch walk. Jonny Gomes ripped a rocket drive off of a leaping Jayson Nix' glove for a single, and just like that Jackie Bradley Jr. was up with two men on base.
It would not be Bradley who got the Red Sox their first run. All he did was come back from 0-2, taking close pitch after close pitch, to draw a walk and load the bases with one out. Instead, it was Jose Iglesias of all people doing the honors, making Eduardo Nunez go into left field to make a play on his ground ball. With Jackie Bradley sliding safe into second, the Sox took the 1-0 lead.
The inning, however, was anything but over. While Kevin Youkilis was able to get the force out at home on Jacoby Ellsbury's ground ball, Shane Victorino laced a single to the left side, bringing both Bradley and Iglesias home. Three pitches later, and Dustin Pedroia had his first multi-hit game of the year, taking a CC Sabathia changeup into right field to make it 4-0.
Jon Lester, meanwhile, had shown some impressive stuff in the first inning, actually having to get four outs when his second strikeout went to the backstop, allowing Robinson Cano to reach first. The second and third innings would go smoothly enough as well, with the cosmic scales balancing for Cano when Jackie Bradley Jr. robbed him of extra bases with a nice catch in left.
The fourth, however, would prove quite the speed bump for Boston's Opening Day starter. While Lester had the strikeout pitch working early in his outing, he suddenly found it very difficult to put batters away. Kevin Youkilis worked an eight pitch at bat, doubling down the left field line to give the Yankees their first convincing hit of the day. Vernon Wells would take eight pitches too, eventually drawing a walk.
Ben Francisco would provide Lester with the first out of the fourth on a foul pop, but Ichiro Suzuki placed a shallow fly ball perfectly between Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino to load up the bases. Lester would walk away the victor of a seven-pitch battle with Jayson Nix, striking him out with a pitch on the outside corner, but couldn't quite bury his cutter far enough inside against Francisco Cervelli. The catcher's drive landed just barely fair down the left field line, and the Red Sox saw their lead cut in half.
Lester would escape the fourth without suffering any further harm, and finished off his outing with a nice, quiet sixth. But the Red Sox would spend innings four through six wasting opportunities, stranding two in the fourth, leaving the bases loaded in the fifth, and watching a leadoff triple from Jacoby Ellsbury go by the wayside in the sixth when he was thrown out at the plate on a Dustin Pedroia ground ball. The Sox would finally make good on one of their chances in the seventh, with a Jackie Bradley Jr. ground ball off of Boone Logan's foot enough to bring Will Middlebrooks home from third.
From there, it was in the bullpen's hands. Koji Uehara had already made quick work of the Yankees in the sixth, and Andrew Miller bounced back from a pair of leadoff walks, combining with Andrew Bailey to strike out the side in the seventh. Junichi Tazawa would take over in the eight, starting a seamless 1-6-3 double play to make up for a Travis Hafner single.
That left just one inning, but first the Red Sox had some work to do against Joba Chamberlain. A wild performance from the New York reliever let Boston establish a conga line around the bases, picking up three runs on two runs and three singles, with Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino driving in Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jonny Gomes, and Jackie Bradley. With the day off on Tuesday, the Red Sox still elected to go with their closer Joel Hanrahan for the ninth even with the 8-2 lead. The Yankees went down in order, and Boston took the first game of the season.
No 0-6, no 0-4. Just one well-played game of baseball, plenty of encouraging performances, and a 1-0 record.