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Benintendi’s 3-Run Home Run Lifts Red Sox Over Pirates on Opening Day

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

 

Andrew Benintendi

The Boston Red Sox got a three-run home run in a five-run fifth inning en route to a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Fenway Park. 

Benintendi is the first Red Sox rookie to hit a home run on Opening Day since Brandon Moss did it in 2008. 

Reigning AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello earned the win. He went 6.1 innings and gave up three earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts. 

Pirates Threaten 

The Pirates would get three runs in the top of the seventh capped off by a sacrifice fly by Starling Marte to cut Boston’s lead to 5-3. 

Pittsburgh would again put two runners on base in the top of the ninth inning before Craig Kimbrel got Marte to foul out to first base to end the game. 

Series Continues 

Boston will have Tuesday, April 4 off before resuming their series with Pittsburgh on Wednesday, April 5. 

Chris Sale will make his Red Sox debut against Pittsburgh’s Jameson Taillon. 

First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. 

 

Related Slideshow: The 10 Best Red Sox Free Agent Signings in Larry Lucchino Era

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Mike Napoli

Although he's in the midst of an absolute dreadful season, Napoli was another major part of the 2013 World Series team.

After Napoli signed a 1-year, $5 million free agent deal before the 2013 season (he received an additional $8 million in incentives), he went on to hit 23 homeruns and drive in 92 runs. He followed that up with a 17 homerun and 55 RBI season last year. He will likely match those totals in the 2015 season.

In the 2013 ALCS against Detroit, Napoli hit .300 and knocked two homeruns out.

 

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Daisuke Matsuzaka

When you think of what player changed the international signing process, and sparked thousands of more Red Sox fans in one swoop of his pen, look no further than Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Everyone can point to what "Dice-K," didn't become - an All-Star season after season with longevity - but the time that he did put in with a Sox uniform on changed the organization.

He finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2007, on his way to helping the Sox win their second World Series in four season. He became the first Japanese pitcher to start and win a World Series game in MLB history.

In 2008, Dice-K finished fourth in Cy Young Award voting after a season in which he racked up 18 wins and a 2.90 ERA. He pitched two games in the postseason that year with unremarkable numbers. 

We never did see the "Gyro ball."

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Shane Victorino

Victorino played in 122 games in 2013 after signing a three year deal worth $39 million with the Sox.

The "Flyin' Hawaiian" had an exceptional (and team leading) 6.1 WAR in 2013 on his way helping the Sox to their third World Series title in 10 seasons. 

Injuries limited Victorino in 2014 and 2015. He was traded last week to the Los Angeles Angels for utility man Josh Rutledge. 

In the end, Victorino will go down in Red Sox history for this grand slam in Game 6 of the 2013 ALCS:

 

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J.D. Drew

For five seasons, J.D. Drew manned right field at Fenway Park - if he was healthy.

With Boston, Drew hit .264 with 80 homeruns and 286 RBIs.

When healthy, Drew lived up to his status as a great hitter. In his first year with the Sox, the team won its second World Series in four years.

His grand slam in the first inning of Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS will be forever remembered: 

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Koji Uehara

At the time of Koji Uehara's signing with the Sox, for the casual fan it went under the radar.

He signed a 1-year deal before the 2013 season worth $4.25 million. Following the 2014 season, he signed a two-year deal for $18 million.

Uehara was spectacular in the 2013 World Series and finished the postseason with 12 saves and recorded the final three outs of Game 6 to clinch the championship. He received the ALCS MVP.

With Boston, Uehara has recorded 70 saves and this season will likely mark his career high in saves. He only needs four more to do so.

 

 

Image Credit: "Koji Uehara on June 15, 2013" by Keith Allison on Flickr (cropped)

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Bill Mueller

Mueller had several big moments in a Sox uniform after signing with the team before the 2003 season.  

In 2003, Mueller also hit three home runs in July 2003 against the Texas Rangers - including two grand slams from both sides of the plate.

That year, Mueller was the AL Batting Champion after taking over for the traded Shea Hillenbrand. 

Following the A-Rod vs Varitek brawl at Fenway Park in late July 2004, Mueller hit this walk-off homerun off of Mariano Rivera. Many recall that single swing of the bat the moment when the Sox turned their season around on route to win their first World Series in 86 years.

 

Image Credit: "Bill Mueller" by Googie man at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bill_Mueller.JPG#/media/File:Bill_Mueller.JPG

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Rusney Castillo

With Victorino now gone, Red Sox rightfielder Rusney Castillo will finally be given the chance to live up to the expectations of his $72 million contract.

Castillo, a free agent signing from Cuba, has tremendous atheticism and speed, but is still getting used to the nuances of Major League Baseball.

This is a great signing for two reasons - the Sox have now taken a giant step in the Cuban market and may have acquired their rightfielder of the future at a relatively low cost for the next six seasons. 

In the six games since being called up to the majors, Castillo is 8 for 23, with a home run, 5 runs, four RBIs and 1 stolen base.

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Yoan Moncada

Like Castillo, Yoan Moncada is a talented player full of promise. At the Single A level, Moncada is absolutely tearing it up. He is hitting .278 with 5 HRs, 41 runs, 24 RBIs and 23 stolen bases.

Moncada is only 19-years-old and was signed for $63 million. He is a shortstop, but is playing second base in the minors - with the possiblity of being Dustin Pedroia's replacement in a few years. 

The Sox could have four young superstars up the middle very shortly with Xander Bogaerts at shortstop, Mookie Betts in centerfield, Blake Swihart at catcher and Moncada at second.

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Hanley Ramirez

At best, this has been a mediocre year in Hanley Ramirez's first season with the Red Sox. He's hitting .263 with 19 homeruns and 50 RBIs, but he's playing an awful left field and has been accused of "dogging it" more than once.

With that being said, Ramirez's deal isn't a bad contract for the Sox. He's making $20 million a year over four years. After this season, Ramirez will likely take over at first base in 2016 before taking over as DH for the final two years of his contract. At first, and even more so DH, the toll on Ramirez's body will be much less than what he's experiencing in front of the Green Monster now.

Look for Ramirez's numbers to keep climbing once he makes the transition out of left field.

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David Ortiz

What more can be said about the most clutch hitter of all-time?

Well for one thing, let's not forget that Lucchino and company took a chance on Ortiz before the 2003 season. They signed him to a one-year contract for $1.25 million. 

42And since then, all he's done is hit 428 home runs and drove in 1,353 RBIs. 

On top of that, Ortiz has an unprecedented 17 homeruns and 61 RBIs in the postseason.

Ortiz has 11 walk off home runs in his career, and 44 game tying home runs.

Never forget.

 
 

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