The Red Sox opened up their homestand with a much-needed win thanks to a productive combination of old blood in Dustin Pedroia and new blood in Andrew Benintendi.
Look, there are more perfect ways for the Red Sox to win this game. David Ortiz could have hit five homers. Jackie Bradley Jr. could have reached over and over on infield singles and then stolen every single base available to him, home included. You can construct a more perfect story.
But in terms of those that come about naturally, Andrew Benintendi and Dustin Pedroia put together pretty much the perfect offensive story for the Red Sox. The new blood set the table, and the old cashed in en route to a 5-3 victory over New York.
The Yankees actually got on the board first, so let's go ahead and run through the bad. Rick Porcello flashed his 2015 self with plenty of long fly balls to start the game, leading to a 2-0 lead when Headley doubled home Starlin Castro in the second and McCann drove in Brett Gardner in the third. He was lucky to get away with those long fly balls without any home runs, but considering the performance he eventually put up, that can be forgiven.
Facing a 2-0 deficit, the aforementioned Andrew Benintendi proved the spark plug for the Red Sox in the third. His first hit in Fenway Park came on a solid opposite field line drive to left, and quickly resulted in a run as Mookie Betts moved him on to third with a double, and Dustin Pedroia plated both men with one of his own into the right field corner to make it 2-2.
And from there, it was all Boston, even when the Yankees hit the ball. Benintendi would be denied his first home run of his MLB career as he doubled just to the left (apparently, on replay) of the yellow line on the wall in center, scoring Sandy Leon after the catcher continued his magical run with a ground ball that bounced past Aaron Hicks and into the corner in right for a triple. Once again, Dustin Pedroia was there to complete the rally with a double into right, and it was 4-2. With David Ortiz picking up a knock off the Monster, it was 5-2 to the Sox.
And there it stayed until the ninth thanks to a combination of good pitching, good fielding, and good luck for and behind Rick Porcello for the next five innings. Given the lead, Porcello pretty much set about throwing strikes to the Yankees. He did get a bit wild in the fifth, surrendering his one walk of the night, but otherwise forced New York to beat him. They rarely did, and even when they managed hard contact, the Red Sox were there in the field, snagging some hot shots or, in the case of Jackie Bradley Jr. in the seventh, making up for misplaying a ball off the wall to gun down Chase Headley when he tried to take third. For some stupid reason the benches proceeded to empty as Porcello and Headley , but little came of it other than an out.
That brings us to the ninth, and oh boy did things ever get messy for Craig Kimbrel. The good news: he didn't give up a single hit! The bad news: the Yankees still scored a run off him as he walked not one, not two, not even three, but four batters in the process of recording two outs, so completely wild was he. Finally, the Red Sox turned to Matt Barnes, who made it look trivially simple, throwing Mark Teixeira five pitches to get the strikeout that mercifully ended the game without any more stress.
A perfect game it was not, but given that narrative is so often working against the Red Sox these days, having it land firmly in their favor tonight is a nice change of pace indeed. The Red Sox needed that spark, and Andrew Benintendi brought it, with Dustin Pedroia providing the extra punch needed to convert, and David Ortiz even chipping in to drive his junior in. It was one generation to the next to the next. More of that please, Red Sox.