Fenway Park was the setting of an emotional night between the Red Sox and White Sox in what turned out to be a 5-1 Boston victory Monday night.
First and foremost, Kevin Youkilis, a member of the Red Sox for nine years and a player who left everything he ever had on the field, each and every night, made his triumphant return to Fenway for the first time in twenty-two days since being traded away. After receiving an emotional standing ovation prior to his first at-bat, Youkilis singled in what was the first of three hits on the night. He would collect two doubles and finish the night 3-for-4, scoring a run.
It was odd to see Youkilis standing in his bizarre batting stance at Fenway without the number twenty in red. Rather a road grey uniform with a black sox logo on the sleeve dawned the beloved Youkilis and the Fenway faithful let him know how much they appreciated all that he did for the club during his tenure.
Youkilis wasn’t the only one making a return on this night. Carl Crawford played in his first game of the season Monday night after what seemed to be injury after injury after injury…….
In fact, he suffered a different injury while rehabbing a previous injury. But finally we got to set the $20 million dollar man in action during this 2012 season. Crawford singled his first at-bat and would come around to score on an Adrian Gonzalez single in the bottom of the inning, finishing his long anticipated debut 1-for-3 with a walk. It was Crawford’s walk that would lead to the big four run inning in the eighth that put the game away for the Red Sox when Gonzalez hit a monster of a shot to left-center, his seventh homer of the year.
Jacoby Ellsbury made his home debut after missing 79 games since his last appearance at Fenway. The speedy outfielder was 0-for-4 but tracked down some well hit balls that appeared to destined for a base hit. Needless to say it was nice to see both Ellsbury and Crawford in the same outfield.
The curious case of Pedro Ciriaco continues to amaze Red Sox fans as the wonder went 3-for-4 on the night, raising his batting average to an impressive .464 since being recalled roughly two weeks ago. All he does is get base hits and create a threat on the base paths. With Dustin Pedroia set to return on Thursday, it’ll be interesting to see what the Red Sox do with Ciriaco.
On a night when Youkilis, Crawford and Ellsbury return, Gonzalez finally goes yard and Ciriaco continues to wow us all, the Red Sox did get some solid pitching from Aaron Cook.
The sinkerballer went 7.0 strong innings, allowing just one run (unearned) on five hits. He didn’t walk anyone and failed to record a strikeout. Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves combined to shut down the White Sox in the final two innings.
Three more games to see Youkilis as an opposition. I know by Thursday it won’t seem any better, it’ll still feel weird.