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|"Once in a while the lead man has got to light the fire. Thats what he did. He let us know we're a good team," said Jonathan Papelbon, who pitched a dominant 9th inning to close out the win.|
“The Yankees had already put two runs on the board in the first inning when Pedroia deposited a homer into left field a couple of feet to the right of the foul pole. The ball wasn't crushed, nor did it sail out of the park onto Landsdowne Street, but it was classic Pedroia: scrappy and timely. "The more pissed off he gets, the better he hits,'' reported reliever Bobby Jenks. Pedroia (3-for-5, three RBIs) was not the only one who delivered at the plate. J.D. Drew punched out two singles and a pair of RBIs. Ortiz submitted two hits and drove in a run. The embattled Saltalamacchia collected two hits to raise his average to .167. Adrian Gonzalez, who continues to live up to his reputation as a professional hitter, collected two hits, scored two runs and vaulted his average to .321. All of those positive results almost made you forget that once again John Lackey was decidedly underwhelming, and that Crawford (0-for-5) still hasn't discovered his groove, and that Youkilis, who drew three walks against New York, continues to take some uncharacteristically bad swings. Take this to the bank: Youk won't bat .105 this season and Crawford won't finish the year at .174. It's been only seven games, but now that Win No. 1 is finally in the books, the players were able to concede the futility was getting to them. "It's been a tough week,'' Drew conceded. "We didn't want to let anyone down,'' Pedroia added. David Ortiz has been down this road before. His notoriously slow starts have led to wild speculation in recent years that he was all done, that he could no longer hit, only to rebound in the final months to post respectable numbers. "Before I saw it totally differently,'' Ortiz said. "Before it was, 'What the [expletive] is going on? People want to go crazy after 10 games.' But now I see it. This is the Boston Red Sox, not the Pittsburgh Pirates. I'm not trying to say anything bad about their organization, but you know what I mean. "Every hit, every play, every at-bat, every swing, these people, they care. They worry about everything, and sometimes it gets out of hand. "Trust me, there were a lot of sad faces these past six games. Even [with] the guys who had good games.'' The theory is that once the new players settle into their new uniforms and their new routines, the Red Sox will come together and begin to resemble the team that so many baseball experts predicted would win 100 games. That lofty prognostication may be unrealistic, but it seemed downright laughable 48 hours ago. One win, one speech, one afternoon of baseball has changed everything -- at least for the moment. It is April at Fenway, and once again hope springs eternal.
I was shocked. Theo doesn't talk. Sometimes he walks right by you and doesn't see you.” -- Red Sox DH David Ortiz, on Theo Epstein's pregame speech in the clubhouse
Jackie MacMullan, who has spent nearly 20 years as a beat writer and columnist in Boston, is a columnist for ESPNBoston.com.