A big birthday bash for Fenway
The Red Sox marked the park's 100th, then the Yankees held their own bash in the game.
BOSTON - On a day when more than 200 former Red Sox players and coaches returned to the major leagues' oldest ballpark to help the team celebrate Fenway Park's 100th birthday, the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez made some history, taking over fifth place with his 631st career home run as the New York Yankees spoiled Boston's celebration with a 6-2 win on Friday.
Rodriguez's solo shot on the first pitch of the fifth inning put him past Ken Griffey Jr. and 29 homers behind Willie Mays' fourth-place total of 660. Eric Chavez added two homers and Nick Swisher and Russell Martin also connected for New York, while Derek Jeter moved into 18th place with his 3,111th career hit, passing Dave Winfield.
The victory came exactly 100 years after the Red Sox beat the Yankees' forerunner, the New York Highlanders, at Fenway, 7-6, in 11 innings.
In Friday's rematch, Clay Buchholz (1-1) allowed all five homers in losing for the first time in 12 starts. The Red Sox lost their fourth straight game, a span in which they've been outscored 31-8.
Ivan Nova (3-0) won his 15th consecutive regular-season start, allowing two runs on seven hits with no walks and five strikeouts in six innings.
Both teams wore throwback uniforms similar to those used in Fenway's first major-league game. The Red Sox had off-white uniforms and caps with the only printing on either being the words "Red Sox" in red across the chest. The Yankees' uniforms were all gray with the only printing being the letters "NY" on the caps and left breast. It is believed to be the first time the Yankees have worn throwbacks.
All living Red Sox players and coaches were invited back for the ceremony. Walking onto the field to the theme from Field of Dreams and the cheers of the ballpark's 719th consecutive sellout crowd, former Red Sox players from Don Aase to Bob Zupcic gathered at their positions and then watched as Caroline Kennedy took part in a ceremonial first pitch 100 years after her great-grandfather, Boston mayor John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, did the same.
The players included Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Bobby Doerr, and Dennis Eckersley plus Pedro Martinez, Luis Tiant, Nomar Garciaparra, Mo Vaughn, 94-year-old Bobby Doerr, and a tearful, 92-year-old Johnny Pesky.
Favorites such as Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, Bill "Spaceman" Lee, and Bill Buckner were also there, with many of the biggest cheers going to players from the 2004 World Series team that ended the franchise's decades-long wait for a championship. Pumpsie Green, who became the franchise's first black ballplayer more than a decade after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, received a warm cheer.
The crowd did not seem to know whether to applaud or boo for Jose Canseco, who spent two forgettable seasons in Boston.
After taking their positions, they all circled around Pesky and Doerr, who were pushed out to second base in wheelchairs by recently retired Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.
Among the bigger cheers was the chant of "Tito!" that greeted Terry Francona, the manager of the 2004 and 2007 world champions, who was let go after the team's unprecedented collapse last September. Francona had said he would not attend before relenting.
New manager Bobby Valentine has been booed several times by the home crowd as the Red Sox (4-9) have gotten off to another slow start after opening last season at 2-10.
Buchholz's beginnings haven't been good either. He allowed four runs in each first inning of his other two starts. On Friday, he gave up only one run in the opening inning. But by the time he left after walking Granderson to lead off the seventh, he had allowed six runs on nine hits and two walks with just two strikeouts.
The Yankees led, 1-0, three batters into the game. Jeter reached on an error by second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who lost his popup in the sun. He moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Rodriguez's single.
They needed only three batters again to take a 3-0 lead in the second. Swisher led off with a homer, Raul Ibanez grounded out, and Chavez drove an 0-2 pitch into Boston's bullpen in right-center field.
David Ortiz cut it to 3-1 leading off the second with his second homer of the season. Umpires originally ruled that the ball had not gone out but, with Ortiz standing on second, they viewed a replay of the hit and reversed the call.
The Yankees stretched their lead to 5-1 on leadoff homers by Chavez in the fourth and Rodriguez in the fifth. They were the second homers of the year for both.
The Red Sox made it 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Cody Ross doubled and Mike Aviles was credited with a double when rightfielder Swisher lost his fly ball in the sun. Martin homered in the sixth.