Final: Red Sox 5, White Sox 1: Kevin Youkilis and Carl Crawford returned to Fenway, and so did Adrian Gonzalez's power. Youk stole the show early with a rousing standing ovation on his first at bat, and went 3 for 4 with two doubles, but Gonzalez's 3-run homer off Septimo in the eighth gave the Red Sox the win and put them two games above .500.
Cook got a no-decision with 7 strong innings, working quickly and getting plenty of groundouts with his sinker despite 0 strikeouts. Padilla got the win. Nice, crisp 2 hour, 40-minute game.
For what it's worth, Ortiz came out for the postgame handshake, though he walked tenderly. Will have more as it becomes available.
Thanks for reading.
Top 9th: Red Sox 5, White Sox 1: Aceves shuts the door. Dunn pops out to third, Konerko walks and Rios grounds into a game-ending double play.
Bottom 8th: Red Sox 5, White Sox 1: Suddenly, some offensive fireworks. Septimo had some trouble finding the strike zone, walking Crawford and Ortiz to lead off the inning. (Note on Ortiz: That gives him 10 straight games with at least one hit and one walk, a new Sox record. The previous mark was set by Ted Williams in 1950.)
Adrian Gonzalez then deposited one atop the Monster, just his seventh homer this season, to put the Red Sox on top. He has driven in all of Boston's runs, a season-high 4 RBIs and most since May 20, 2011.
Ortiz was injured stumbling around second base and slowly limped back into the dugout, returning to the clubhouse.
The Sox tacked on some insurance when Ross singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, to third on a Middlebrooks grounder, and scored on an Aviles single to right. Ciriaco flew out to right to end things.
Aceves on to close things out.
Top 8th: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: Perfect inning for Padilla. Beckham pops out to Ciriaco, De Aza grounds out to first and Youk, he of the 3-for-3 night, got blown away with a 96-mph high fastball.
Time to sing. Because why not?
Bottom 7th: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: After getting Middlebrooks and Aviles on quick groundouts, Axelrod got the hook when Ciriaco singled through the 5-6 hole.
Septimo came on and got Ellsbury to pop out to Youkilis.
Axelrod's final line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 8 K (tied for career-high), 0 BB, 109 pitches, 71 strikes.
Cook is also done after 7. Padilla on for Boston.
Cook's final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB, 97 pitches, 66 strikes.
Top 7th: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: Only one groundout this inning, but Cook is still going strong. Rios and Viciedo each flyout, sandwiching A.J. Pierzynski's second single of the night. Ramirez then bounced out to short.
Looks like Axelrod will stay on.
Time to stretch. Because why not?
Bottom 6th: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: Ortiz strikes on, what else, an 82-mph slider and Gonzalez grounds out to second. Ross, on the other hand, avenged his earlier Ks by doubling off the Monster, but Salty flew out to center.
Axelrod is at 98 pitches so far, so his night might be over after 6 strong innings.
Top 6th: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1:. So everyone is grounding out against Aaron Cook except Youkilis, who moves to 3 for 3 today with a double into the right-center gap. De Aza and Dunn sandwiched the extra-base hit with groundouts to Aviles, and Konerko flies out to Crawford. Since Cook came off the disabled list, he has allowed just five earned runs in 26 innings.
Bottom 5th: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: Ciriaco singled (2 for 2 today), but got stranded after Ellsbury got caught looking on a 90-mph fastball and Crawford got underneath one, skying a flyout to center.
Top 5th: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: Cook is matching Axelrod groundout for strikeout. Ramirez and Beckham both bounce out to Aviles after Vicideo flew out to Ellsbury in center.
Bottom 4th: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: Bad nights for Ross, Salty, and Middlebrooks in the middle of Boston's order. They each strike out for the second time. All three went down on sliders. Five of Axelrod's six strikeouts tonight have been via that pitch.
Top 4th: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: Boston infield gets some routine work. Konerko, Rios, and Pierzynski all ground out. Cook throwing strikes, and his sinker has been effective so far.
Bottom 3rd: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: Nothing doing for the Sox of the Red Kind this inning. Crawford lined out to right, and both Ortiz and Gonzalez grounded out to second.
Top 3rd: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: Youkilis is 2 for 2 in his return to Fenway, this time doubling off the wall in deep center after Beckham and De Aza both grounded out. Dunn grounded out to first to strand him.
Bottom 2nd: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: Middlebrooks gets worked away the entire at bat and winds up striking out looking. Aviles then sharply grounded out to the mound. Ciriaco snapped an 0 for 8 slide over his past two games with a double down the right-field line, but Ellsbury grounded harmlessly to first.
Top 2nd: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: After Ellsbury tracked down a deep Rios fly in center, Pierzynski singled to right and advanced when Cook sailed his throw to second high on a tailor-made double-play ball from Viciedo.
No matter. Ramirez bounced into a 6-3 double play to end the inning.
Note: In between innings, Youkilis got honored with a video-board montage. It ended with his curtain call in his last game. The ensuing message read:
"For your commitment to the New England community, your dedication to Red Sox Nation, and your gritty play at Fenway Park, thank you!"
Bottom 1st: White Sox 1, Red Sox 1: Ellsbury flies out to center in his first Fenway at bat since suffering his injury on April 13. Crawford got a nice, albeit non-Youk-sized reception from the crowd in his first at bat this season, and promptly singled up the middle on a low-and-away changeup from Axelrod. He motored from first to third when Ortiz singled to right-center, extending his season-high 11-game hit streak.
Gonzalez worked the count full, then ripped an RBI single to right. Ross struck out on an 81-mph slider and Salty went down on a full-count, 83-mph slider.
Axelrod threw 33 pitches that inning.
Top 1st: White Sox 1, Red Sox 0: The inning belonged to Kevin Youkilis, who received a 45-second standing ovation and deafening cheers of "Yoouukk" in his return to Fenway. He singled up the middle off fellow Cincinnati native Aaron Cook, then came around to score on some heads-up baserunning. When Dunn grounded out to Ciriaco, Youkilis bolted for third after noticing that Will Middlebrooks was far off the bag on the shift. Gonzalez's throw sailed high, and Youkilis trotted home, smiling all the way.
Konerko lined out to Middlebrooks to end the inning.
Pregame: Greetings, all. Pete's off today, so Alex the Intern is captaining this blog for YoukFest 2012. Aaron Cook (2-2, 4.37 ERA) takes the mound for the Boston against Chicago's Dylan Axelrod (1-2, 6.16 ERA), but the big stories are obviously Carl Crawford and Kevin Youkilis returning to Fenway.
We've got plenty of pregame posts for you on Extra Bases and, as always, comment away throughout the game. Enjoy.