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From a closer, a memento for his manager

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  April 1, 2013 08:28 PM

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NEW YORK — The baseball was scuffed after being put in play and the seams had a little dirt on them. But there it sat on the desk, carefully wedged between the telephone and computer keyboard so it would not roll away.

It was one of the best gifts John Farrell had ever received, a memento of his first game as manager of the Red Sox and Monday’s 8-2 victory against the Yankees.

Joel Hanrahan gave Farrell the ball after he threw the final pitch of the game and got Brett Gardner to foul out.

“I thought he might like it, this being his first win as the Red Sox manager,” Hanrahan said. “I hope there’s a lot more.”

Farrell, who arrived at Yankee Stadium at 7 a.m., sat back in his office chair later on and said he appreciated the gesture. It was just one game in a long season, but it was one worth remembering.

“Today was a very good day in a number of ways,” Farrell said.

The Sox, so lifeless last season in losing 93 games, played with passion and a sense of purpose. They had 13 hits and drew eight walks. Five relief pitchers combined on four scoreless innings, allowing only three Yankees to reach base.

The Sox also ran the bases aggressively and made several nice plays in the field.

“Nothing complicated. Just playing hard,” said Jonny Gomes, who scored from second base on an infield single in the ninth inning and popped up pumping his fist after sliding across the plate. “You saw today how to win a game.”

Veteran Shane Victorino, who struggled in spring training, had two hits and drove in three runs. Rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. made an impactful debut, drawing three walks, scoring two runs, driving in another, and saving a run with a running catch.

Jacoby Ellsbury, missing for much of last season, had three hits and drove in two runs. Jose Iglesias did more with his bat than his glove, collecting three infield hits and driving in a run.

The Sox became a new team after general manager Ben Cherington remade the roster. They played like it. The team that ended last season with losses in 22 of its final 29 games is no more.

“The personality of your manager kind of plays out with the personality of the team” said Jon Lester, who allowed two runs over five innings for his first victory as an Opening Day starter. “He’s a very positive, upbeat guy. He’s always prepared, always full of information if you need it. That trickles down to the coaching staff and to us.

“I think a lot of us felt embarrassed about what happened last year. We’re busting our butts to try not to let that happen again.”

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