- Gordon Edes, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- No, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi isn't apt to call this the worst April roster in the history of baseball, thus ignoring the example of the former Boston Red Sox manager who inflamed his bosses by labeling his team that way, the only difference being he took his shot in September.
But with Yankee Stadium emptying for the second straight game long before the outcome was decided, these battered Bombers are obviously a fragile facsimile of their more celebrated predecessors. With pitcher Hiroki Kuroda joining the long list of injured Yankees by trying to barehand Shane Victorino's line-drive single, the impact leaving a bruise on his middle finger and altering his aim, the Red Sox made it two straight one-sided wins over the Yankees, this one by a 7-4 score.
Vernon Wells' three-run homer off Sox reliever Alfredo Aceves in the eighth, cheered by the sparse remnants of an announced crowd of 40,216, cut into a 6-0 lead built by the Sox in the first three innings. But it could not prevent the Sox from starting a season with two road wins against the Yankees for the first time since 1935.
While on the topic of historical nuggets, here's another: This was the first time the Sox have scored seven or more runs in each of their first two games of the season on the road since 1919, which bookends Jackie Bradley Jr.'s first season with the Sox and Babe Ruth's last.
Kuroda, touched for three singles and a run in the first, tried to continue in the second inning after Victorino's leadoff single, but was lifted after drilling Bradley in the right calf with a pitch, walking Jacoby Ellsbury, then hitting Daniel Nava to force in a run.
The Sox broke it open with four more runs in the third off Yankees reliever Cody Eppley, an inning that included an RBI single by Victorino, an RBI single by Bradley that was his first major league hit, a double by Jose Iglesias, and a two-run single by Jacoby Ellsbury.
Clay Buchholz, who was hammered for eight home runs in 7 2/3 innings over two starts (both losses) against the Yankees last season, ended a personal five-game losing streak by going seven innings, allowing just six hits and walking two. New York's only run off Buchholz came on a bases-empty home run by Travis Hafner, the first long ball hit by either team in the first two games.
Buchholz, on a chilly night in which several players on both teams wore ski masks and long sleeves, took advantage of the six-run cushion given him by going right after Yankees hitters, with 62 of his 94 pitches thrown for strikes.
For the second straight game, the Sox had 13 hits, 11 of them singles, plus doubles by Nava and Iglesias. Every batter in the Sox lineup reached base at least once. Nava, who replaced Jonny Gomes as DH and batted in the 2-hole, was on base four times, with a single, double and walk in addition to being plunked. The last three hitters in the Sox order -- Victorino, Bradley and Iglesias -- combined for five hits, four runs scored, and a stolen base (Victorino).
New closer Joel Hanrahan, showing off a 97 mph fastball, registered his first save for the Sox, pitching a scoreless ninth.