Benintendi lifts Red Sox over Pirates 5-3 in post-Ortiz era

  • Boston Red Sox's Andrew Benintendi hits a three-run homer in front of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli (29) during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Boston Red Sox's Andrew Benintendi runs after hitting a three-run homer against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Boston Red Sox's Andrew Benintendi celebrates his three-run homer with teammate Sandy Leon (3) in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello throws to first to get Pittsburgh Pirates' Josh Bell on a ground out in the seventh inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, displays one of the team's Super Bowl trophies as tight End Rob Gronkowski, left, carries another during pregame ceremonies before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, shakes hands after throwing the ceremonial first pitch to Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, left, before a baseball game between the Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers to the plate the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox on opening day at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello delivers to the plate in the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady displays his recovered jersey, which was stolen from the locker room after the Patriots' February Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, during pregame ceremonies before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • Boston Red Sox players including Mookie Betts, middle, take the field for the start of their baseball home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • From left, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and players Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, James White and Dion Lewis carry Super Bowl trophies off the field before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (right) greets Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell in the dugout after Red Sox Home Opening Day ceremonies at Fenway Park on Monday in Boston. AP

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, displays his recovered jersey, which tight End Rob Gronkowski had grabbed during pregame ceremonies, before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. The jersey had been stolen from the locker room after the Patriots' February Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Houston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, tackles tight end Rob Gronkowski, right, who had grabbed Brady's recovered jersey, which was stolen from the locker room after the Patriots' February Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, during pregame ceremonies before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots, from left, owner Robert Kraft, and players Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis and James White carry the team's five Super Bowl trophies during Boston Red Sox Home Opening Day ceremonies at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. The Red Sox face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the baseball game. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • New England Patriots tight End Rob Gronkowski, right, runs from quarterback Tom Brady with Brady's recovered jersey, which was stolen from the locker room after the Patriots' February Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots tight End Rob Gronkowski, front, grabs from quarterback Tom Brady the recovered jersey, which was stolen from the locker room after the Patriots' February Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. At rear is Patriots owner Robert Kraft. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots tight End Rob Gronkowski, right, grabs from quarterback Tom Brady the recovered jersey, which was stolen from the locker room after the Patriots' February Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates on opening day at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws the ceremonial first pitch during Boston Red Sox Home Opening Day ceremonies at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. The Red Sox face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the baseball game. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) runs with quarterback Tom Brady's, far left, recovered Super Bowl jersey as they joke around during Boston Red Sox home opening day ceremonies at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. The Red Sox face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the baseball game. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, top, tackles teammate Rob Gronkowski after he ran with Brady's recovered Super Bowl jersey as they joke around during Boston Red Sox Home Opening Day ceremonies at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. The Red Sox face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the baseball game. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Boston Red Sox outfielders Mookie Betts, left, and Andrew Benintendi run from the field after a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. The Red Sox won 5-3. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Boston Red Sox, from left, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia and Andrew Benintendi celebrate after a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. The Red Sox won 5-3. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Boston Red Sox's Andrew Benintendi, left, celebrates his three-run homer with teammates Dustin Pedroia, partially hidden, and Sandy Leon, right, in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Gerrit Cole reacts as Boston Red Sox's Andrew Benintendi rounds third after hitting a three-run homer during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

By KYLE HIGHTOWER
Published: 4/3/2017 10:56:54 PM

BOSTON – The Red Sox bid farewell to a legend at the end of last season. This season opened with a big day for one of their rising stars.

Rookie Andrew Benintendi hit a three-run homer that capped a five-run fifth inning, and the Red Sox began their post-David Ortiz era by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-3, in Monday’s opener.

Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (1-0) gave up three runs and six hits in 6 ⅓ innings while striking out five. Craig Kimbrel retired Starling Marte on a game-ending popup with two on for the save.

“That was awesome,” Benintendi said. “We’re all excited to start playing games that actually matter. It was a fun experience.”

What manager John Farrell said has impressed him most about 22-year-old during his short time in the majors is the lack of panic. Benintendi homered on a 98 mph fastball on a 2-2 count.

“He sees the ball extremely well and has a true understanding of the strike zone,” Farrell said. “A pretty special young player.”

Playing the team it beat in the first World Series in 1903, Boston opened against a National League opponent for just the second time.

Gerrit Cole (0-1), the first overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft, gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings.

Cole said he threw a 2-2 pitch to Benintendi to strike him out looking in the first inning. He tried the same offering in the fifth.

“Obviously, he was not going to let that get by him again,” Cole said.

Ortiz retired after last season after helping the Red Sox win three Series titles, their first since 1918.

Even without Ortiz, there was still plenty of pageantry at Fenway Park.

The ceremonial first pitch was attended a quintet of members Super Bowl champion New England Patriots headlined by MVP quarterback Tom Brady, who made the toss. They were joined by owner Robert Kraft and all five of the franchise’s Lombardi trophies.

It may have brought the hometown team some good luck.

Boston had only two hits before Jackie Bradley Jr.’s two-out triple to right in the fifth. He scored the first run after Pablo Sandoval beat out a sharp grounder to shortstop Jordy Mercer.

Sandy Leon bunted his way on, Sandoval scored on Dustin Pedroia’s line-drive single up the middle and Benintendi homered.

Porcello allowed only three hits through six innings. Josh Harrison had an RBI single in the seventh, and the Pirates added two runs off Matt Barnes before Andrew McCutchen struck out for the third time.

Big plays

Along with his homer, Benintendi had what might have been a game-saving catch in seventh inning. Trailing 5-2 in the seventh, the Pirates had the bases loaded when Starling Marte hit a hard liner to left. But Benintendi was able to haul in a running, over-the-shoulder grab to limit the damage to a run, with Josh Harrison scoring from third on a tag up.

Bradley Jr. also had a nice running catch against the bullpen wall in the fourth inning to go along with his triple in the fifth to start the rally.

“I think it gave us some momentum. It was a little bit of a spark,” Farrell said of Bradley’s grab.

Up next

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale makes his Boston debut Wednesday after being acquired in an offseason trade with the White Sox.




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