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Red Sox top Yankees, open 2-0 for first time since 1999

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Shane Victorino had a forgettable 2012 and so did the Boston Red Sox. Together they are succeeding in all facets of the game and are off to a quick start.

Victorino had two hits, stole a base and scored a run as the Red Sox improved to 2-0 for the first time since 1999 with a 7-4 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Victorino, who signed a three-year $39 million deal with the Red Sox after batting a combined .255 with the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers a year ago, is 4-for-11 (.364) with four RBI. The Red Sox are hitting .329 and have scored 15 runs so far.

"I'm putting 2012 behind me," Victorino said. "It's two games into it. I worked hard and I'm going to continue to work hard and go out there having fun doing it. It helps having a great bunch of guys around you that support you. We support each other and that's what makes it fun.

"We're having fun doing that. Winning helps, but it's about the way we're playing the game. We're running the bases hard, we're taking the extra base, playing good defense (and) good pitching. That's how you win."

The other part of Boston's winning formula Wednesday was a strong performance by Clay Buchholz, who had little difficulty in getting through seven innings and allowed a solo home run by Travis Hafner in the fourth inning among six hits.

After posting a 0.79 ERA in spring training, Buchholz worked efficiently, needing just 94 pitches to get through a Yankees lineup missing injured hitters Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson.

"The last couple of starts of spring, my main goal was to throw my pitches on both side of the plate and be able to cut both sides," Buchholz said. "I didn't throw a lot of arm-side cutters today, but being able to throw two-seamers in to lefties and come backs against righties and cutting both sides (of the plate) it was big."

"Tonight, another good pitching performance by Clay," Boston manager John Farrell said. "(He threw) a lot of early strikes that forced them to swing the bat. He was extremely efficient with all of his pitches in a quality seven innings."

The rest of the Yankees, including former Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, were little match for Buchholz, who entered with a 7.19 ERA in nine previous appearances against New York. He struck out four, issued two walks and encountered trouble in just one inning.

Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda lasted just 1 1/3 innings after suffering a contusion in his right middle finger trying to knock down a line drive by Victorino. Kuroda threw 41 pitches. X-rays were negative, and the Yankees said they will determine whether Kuroda can make his next start after the right-hander throws a bullpen session Friday in Detroit.

"It is tough to tell," Kuroda said through a translator when asked about making his next start. "But, for me, I'm going to try to get ready."

Boston's lineup has scored 10 runs in the opening five innings in both games and has opened a season with two straight victories against the Yankees for the first time since 1935. The Red Sox also have scored at least seven runs in the first two games of a season for the first time since doing so in 1919.

"To be up 2-0 to start the season, that's great," Victorino said. "Those guys are missing a lot of guys and they're going to be a different team the next time we see them. But you know what? We got to take them. Every game counts. Game 1 is just important as Game 162."

Every starter except Will Middlebrooks had a hit, while Jacoby Ellsbury drove in two runs. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Dustin Pedroia, Victorino, rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava also had run-scoring hits.

The Yankees began last year with three straight losses and, even with all their injuries, they are remaining positive.

"I'm pretty sure we're going to lose two games in a row," New York catcher Chris Stewart said. "Last year we lost three in a row (to start) and we were all right."

"It's not unusual to lose two games in a row," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think it becomes somewhat glaring when it's the first two of the year, but we didn't start off too good last year either. If I remember, the thing turned out OK."

NOTES: A day after announcing that he was dropping Scott Boras as his agent and going to the Roc Nation sports agency group headed by rapper Jay-Z and a division of Creative Artists Agency, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano said it was a family decision and this would be the last time he would discuss his contract status during the season. "Right now, my focus is on playing baseball," he said. "There's no contract or anything like that on my mind. The season has started, and I don't want to be a distraction for my teammates. All I want to do is focus on playing right now. ... Boston designated hitter David Ortiz will head to Florida on Thursday to continue his rehab from an injured right Achilles tendon. Ortiz is expected to do more running before heading to Triple-A Pawtucket for a rehab appearance that will likely consist of 25 to 30 at-bats. "We're going to gauge that on him and when he's ready to take that next progressive step," Farrell said. "But I think it's most important to note that he continues to move along the prescribed plan that's in place. I know with each passing day he feels better about himself with the intensity ramping up with his running. So, we'll get a better read when he returns to Florida." ... Boston shortstop Stephen Drew continued his recovery from a concussion by going 4-for-4 in a simulated game. Farrell said Drew is feeling better and will start a rehab assignment Thursday with Double-A Portland. If that goes well, Drew could return for the home opener on Monday.
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