Benintendi lifts Red Sox over Pirates 5-3 in post-Ortiz era

Yolanda Curtis
April 6, 2017

For at least one game, Red Sox nation breathed a sigh of relief as Boston began its first David Ortiz-less season since 2002.

Boston red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi launched a three-run homer off of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole in the Red Sox' victory Monday.

Cy Young Award victor Rick Porcello is scheduled to throw his first pitch at 2:05PM. In classic Kimbrel fashion, he allowed the potential tying runs to reach base before getting Pittsburgh slugger Starling Marte to pop out in foul territory.

"That was awesome doing that", Benintendi said. It wasn't until the 5th inning that the Red Sox put the 1st run of the game on the board, and eventually won 5-3. "It was a fun experience". The last Sox player to helm three Opening Day "positions" in as many years was John Valentin, who played second, short, and third from 1996-98.

So Cole went back to his fastball, this time at 97 miles per hour, but Benintendi was sitting on it, and deposited it into the visitor's bullpen to give the Red Sox a 5-0 lead.

The Red Sox held on to beat the Pirates 5-3 Monday in front of a sold-out crowd of 36,594 in the Buccos' first game in Fenway Park since 2005. "He's got a true understanding of the strike zone", Farrell said. He's going to be the starter at shortstop for the Braves all year, and he's already established himself as one of the most exciting young players in baseball. It's the first time since 2002 the team will play without Big Papi.

Porcello, who had been sailing along, got exhausted and, after giving up a run, was lifted in favor of Matt Barnes, who was not exactly as baffling as Porcello had been through the first six innings. He tried the same offering in the fifth. However Pittsburgh is one of my fade teams even early in the season as I just don't expect much from them, and they haven't had any success in Cole's recent starts.

It was Boston's first home run of the season and the third of Benintendi's Major League Baseball career (in 35 games).

The Red Sox increased their win total from 71 to 78 to 93 over the past three seasons. That quintet entered the field to a roaring applause with the Patriots' five Super Bowl trophies before Brady lobbed the ceremonial first pitch. Pablo Sandoval, who everyone worries about in terms of offensive production, did as well, the product of a hustle infield-single.

Sandy Leon bunted his way on, Sandoval scored on Dustin Pedroia's line-drive single up the middle and Benintendi homered.

Unfortunately for Porcello, he gave up two more runs while sitting on the bench. Toronto won the wild card game 5-2 on an 11th-inning home run by Edwin Encarnacion.

Bradley Jr. also had a nice running catch against the bullpen wall in the fourth inning to go along with his triple in the fifth to start the rally. "Basically, take the same process I take every year and try to get prepared to go out there and do the things that I'm looking to do to give us a chance to win". Keuchel made his third consecutive opening day start.

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