FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Opening day at Yankee Stadium figures to be a lot different than the first meeting of the season between New York and the Boston Red Sox.
With Brett Gardner the only regular in the Yankees’ starting lineup, New York beat Boston 5-2 yesterday in the first of their two spring training matchups.
Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster threw 25 of 28 pitches for strikes, allowing his only hit in three scoreless innings when Gardner reached on a single to shortstop starting the game. The rivalry is a new experience for Dempster, who signed a $26.5 million, two-year contract.
“It’s super-intriguing,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed it from afar, being a baseball fan. So I’m sure we’ll have lots of good games against each other. I know that that rivalry is different than pretty much any rivalry in baseball and one of the best rivalries in all of sports. So it probably makes for a little more excitement.”
Boston’s Mike Napoli, in just his second spring training game after being diagnosed with avascular necrosis during the offseason, homered off Adam Warren leading off the second.
New York took a 3-1 lead in the sixth off new Boston closer Joel Hanrahan, who allowed Eduardo Nunez’s run-scoring single and Jayson Nix’s RBI grounder. Another run scored on a fielding error by third baseman Drew Sutton.
“I thought he threw the ball very well,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Put the ball on the ground. A couple of plays extended the inning for him but otherwise that would have been a clean inning of work for him.”
Farrell also was impressed by Dempster.
“His command was outstanding,” he said. “Very good location throughout. He threw three pitches for strikes once again, and extremely efficient.”