Quite a debut: Victorino drives in three in victory
NEW YORK – Jackie Bradley Jr. and the Boston Red Sox were daring on the basepaths. Jon Lester and the Boston bullpen were aggressive against a barely recognizable New York Yankees’ lineup.
The Red Sox looked as if they were in a hurry to put a dreadful 2012 season behind them. They’re off to an impressive start, giving new manager John Farrell an 8-2 win on opening day Monday.
“I think how you saw it (Monday) is how we can win a lot of ballgames,” new Boston designated hitter Jonny Gomes said. “It was kind of all there early.”
Shane Victorino, a St. Anthony High alumnus, led a revamped Red Sox lineup with three RBIs and Bradley walked three times and scored twice in his big league debut. Boston’s productive day against CC Sabathia (0-1) came a year after it lost its first three games under Bobby Valentine and finished 69-93.
Victorino, who played for the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers last season, had a two-single in the second and an RBI single in the ninth. He started in right field and hit second in the order.
Victorino signed a three-year, $39 million free-agent contract with Boston in December.
Facing a Yankees lineup minus injured Derek Jeter for the first time since 2001 and just three starters from opening day a year ago, Lester (1-0) gave up five hits and two runs in five innings against the defending American League East champions.
“It’s big,” Lester said. “It’s obviously a lot nicer than the past couple of years to be on top 1-0 instead of going through a whole road trip without a win again.”
Yankees stars Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira also are on the disabled list.
“You’re talking about some of the best players in the game. It’s going to be a little different,” Sabathia said. “But we know what we have to do and who’s not here. That’s not an excuse.”
Bradley, meanwhile, made an immediate impact after earning a spot with a strong spring training performance.
In his first plate appearance, the ever-smiling 22-year-old outfielder worked a one-out walk after falling behind 0-2. That helped Boston touch up the big lefty for four runs in the second inning.
Bradley then stole a potential RBI hit from Robinson Cano with a running, twisting grab in a swirling wind in left field in the third. He added an RBI groundout in the seventh.
“I wasn’t nervous. I was ready,” Bradley said.
The punchless Yankees had just one hit after the fifth inning against five relievers in losing a season opener at home for the first time since 1982, after 11 straight wins.
Boston wasn’t at full strength, either. David Ortiz is on the disabled list with sore heels, the first time he was not the Red Sox designated hitter for the opener since Jeremy Giambi in 2003.