Bobby Dalbec hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the sixth inning and the Boston Red Sox avoided a season-opening sweep against their longtime rival with a 4-3 win over the Yankees on Sunday night.
Boston blew multi-run leads in the first two games of the series and did so again Sunday. This time, the Red Sox rallied back, with Dalbec connecting off reliever Clarke Schmidt (0-1) for his first of the season.
The Red Sox ended an eight-game regular-season skid against the Yankees — a stretch that doesn’t include their victory in last year’s American League wild-card game. The rivals don’t play again until July 7.
Rookie right-hander Kutter Crawford (1-1) threw two of Boston’s 5 ⅔ scoreless relief innings for his first big league win, and Jake Diekman pitched the ninth for his first save. J.D. Martinez had an R.B.I. double, one of the team’s five hits.
Anthony Rizzo made it 3-all with a two-run single in the fourth, scoring Yankees newcomers Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino after they opened the inning with their first hits in pinstripes.
Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton continued torrid starts to the season. Rizzo had a hit and walked twice, and Stanton had three hits. Both homered in each of the Yankees’ first two games, and Stanton had homered in six straight games against the Red Sox, including the postseason.
Diekman struck out Aaron Judge on 11 pitches to start the ninth, then got Stanton and Joey Gallo swinging, too.
Dalbec hit 25 homers as a rookie last season but batted .240 with 156 strikeouts in 133 games. He improved dramatically in the second half, posting a .955 on-base plus slugging percentage and driving in 42 runs over 61 games.
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Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery took Xander Bogaerts’s 103-mile-per-hour grounder off his left knee in the first inning and fell to the ground screaming. He remained in the game but gave up Martinez’s R.B.I. double the next at-bat and trailed 2-0 after the top of the first.
The Yankees forced Tanner Houck to throw 31 pitches in the bottom of the inning but left the bases loaded. The first inning took 37 minutes, part of yet another sluggish Sox-Yanks game that took 3:40 to complete.
Yankees leadoff man Josh Donaldson struck out looking three times for the first time in his career. All three came against Houck.
Boston’s Christian Arroyo made his first big league start in right field and slid to take away a hit from Gleyber Torres in the seventh.
The Red Sox used six pitchers and New York needed five. The teams combined for 31 pitching changes in the three-game set.
Rays Are Last Unbeaten Team
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As much as the Tampa Bay Rays wanted Corey Kluber to have a shot at getting the victory in the pitcher’s debut with his new team, keeping the two-time Cy Young Award winner fresh and healthy is a bigger priority.
The 36-year-old right-hander looked good in his first game since joining the defending A.L. East champions, pitching 4 ⅔ scoreless innings in an 8-0 victory that completed an opening sweep of the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.
“I didn’t really control counts the way I’d like to eventually,” Kluber said. “But at the end of the day, I made good pitches when I needed to to keep them off the scoreboard.”
Brandon Lowe hit a two-run homer off Tyler Wells (0-1), while Wander Franco had his second three-hit game in three days and drove in a pair of runs as the Rays beat the Orioles for the 15th straight time and matched the fastest start to a season in club history.
Tampa Bay, which is 21-1 against the Orioles since the beginning of last year, also started 3-0 in 2002 and 2012.
Coming off a 110-loss season, Baltimore is 0-3 for the first time since 2007. The Orioles never led in the series, struck out 37 times — most through three games of a season in franchise history — and went 2-for-24 with runners in scoring position.
“They have really good pitching, but we didn’t do a very good job swinging the bats. We didn’t make them work much,” Orioles Manager Brandon Hyde said. “We can improve our two-strike hitting, put more pressure on their defense. We have some guys scuffling early. I’d like to see them break out. We’re putting too much pressure on ourselves.”
Kluber, pitching on his birthday for the first time in his career, allowed three hits, walked four and struck out five in an 87-pitch outing.
Manfred Gave Players Headphones
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred gifted major league players Bose headphones on opening day as a peace offering after a bitter 99-day lockout that delayed the start of the season.
Major League Baseball confirmed that headphones and a letter signed by Manfred were left at the locker of each player when teams began their seasons Thursday and Friday. The present was first reported by The Athletic.
“Please accept this gift as a small gesture of my appreciation for the hard work that comes with being a Major Leaguer and your respect for our incredible fans,” Manfred wrote. “Thank you for everything you do in a game that has such a rich history and deep meaning to our fans in the U.S. and around the world. Wishing you the best of luck for a successful season.”
Manfred’s relationship with players has grown increasingly icy since he succeeded Bud Selig as commissioner in 2014.
At the news conference announcing an agreement with the union to end this winter’s lockout, Manfred admitted that he’s failed in his role as a diplomat to players and pledged to improve the relationship.
Asked what Manfred could do to mend things this spring, players told The Associated Press the commissioner could do more to present himself as a steward of the game. At least one player, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, said he thought the damage was irreparable.
“To just put it bluntly, he doesn’t do anything for us,” Wainwright said. “I know how that’s going to read, so Commissioner Manfred, don’t take it personal. That’s just how it looks from a players’ standpoint.”