One day removed from a trade deadline unlike any other for Boston that saw the whole look of the team changed in a matter of hours, the Red Sox were back at Fenway Park to take on their arch rivals, the New York Yankees. John Lackey was scheduled to start tonight, but after he was sent to St. Louis in one of the many deals they made yesterday, Anthony Ranaudo was given the ball. He had certainly had his fair share of success in Pawtucket with a record of 12-4 and a 2.41 ERA, and in his first start for the big league club, he didn’t disappoint.
It looked like some expected nerves got to Ranaudo early in innings – he walked the leadoff man in the first two innings, and the second batter in the third – but he would then settle down and get to work. While he’s known for his fastball, he was content to pitch to contact and just get outs. The defense was also stellar tonight with multiple catches and turned double plays being key.
The Red Sox offense got things going in the third inning starting off with who else – Brock Holt, who hit a towering triple. Dustin Pedroia would follow with a ground rule double to center field that could have easily been another triple if it didn’t bounce over the wall to drive in Holt and get Boston on the board. David Ortiz then singled to bring in Pedroia and the new-look Sox were rolling.
Carlos Beltran led off the fourth inning with a solo homer, but Ranaudo didn’t seem to be bothered. He proceeded to get Brian McCann to fly out and Headley and Drew to ground out to get out of the inning quickly. And so it would continue for Ranaudo through six innings, although Beltran, who has been on fire as of late, would knock in Ellsbury in the sixth. Ranaudo’s final line was 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 4 BB and 2 K.
Dustin Pedroia would grab his second RBI of the night in the seventh driving in Mookie Betts to give the Red Sox a 4-2 lead. Speaking of Betts, his catch in deep center field in the eighth inning off a hard hit ball from Ellsbury was arguably the play of night and a potential game-saving play that could have easily seen the momentum of the game totally shift being that Derek Jeter had just made it a one-run game with a solo shot into the Monster seats. This all came under Junichi Tazawa’s watch, who was hit extremely hard and may have been the most concerning element of the game for Boston tonight.
Koji Uehara came on in the ninth to notch his 22nd save of the season and shut down the Yanks in classic Koji fashion, including an electric strike out over the pinch hitting Martin Prado. The Red Sox would take the first game of the series 4-3.
If it wasn’t for Ranaudo’s headline stealing performance, the focus would have been on the various new faces for the Red Sox, and even the Yankees. Allen Craig broke out of his recent funk with a double, but only went 1-4 with a strikeout. Recently called up Mookie Betts added a hit as did Will Middlebrooks in his first game since being activated from the DL. For New York, former Boston pitcher Chris Capuano was on the mound and he was mediocre, scattering eight hits and four runs. No walks for the left handed veteran and five strikeouts helped his cause. Although he did receive a small tribute from Sox fans, it was more of the same for Stephen Drew in his first game in pinstripes, going 0-4 and looking lost at the plate at times.
The Red Sox will look to keep the post-trade deadline winning ways going tomorrow on Yawkey Way. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05pm (ET) and will feature 24 year old Allen Webster (1-0, 3.38) going up against 25 year old Shane Greene (2-1, 3.28).