It was almost perfect for Boston Red Sox fans: They cheered Kevin Youkilis early in the game and enjoyed a late-inning rally by their team. A limping David Ortiz just put a bit of a damper on the nice night.
Adrian Gonzalez spoiled Youkilis’ return to Fenway Park, hitting a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning of a 5-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis on June 24, sending the three-time All-Star and cash to Chicago for utilityman Brent Lillibridge and a minor league pitcher. Youkilis went 3 for 4 with two doubles in his first game back at his longtime home.
Youkilis was serenaded with chants of ”Yooooouk” when he stepped to the plate in the first.
”It was a great ovation. It was just a cool thing from the fans,” he said. ”I can’t thank them enough for all the support they’ve given me.”
The Red Sox received a scare when Ortiz came up limping after rounding second on Gonzalez’s homer and limped badly all the way to the dugout.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he’ll have an MRI on his right Achilles on Tuesday.
”He’s little upset and a little sore, but it doesn’t look he pulled anything or tore anything,” he said. ”It’s probably going to be some days, though. It’s that Achilles. You know, he’s had the heel and where the Achilles attaches in the back of the heel. I guess he’s had it in the past.”
Ortiz spoke briefly and was somewhat encouraged.
”Yeah, I got sore, but I didn’t feel any pop, so that’s a good sign,” he said. ”I iced it so it’s not as bad as it was.”
Carl Crawford returned to Boston’s lineup after missing the entire season with left elbow and wrist injuries, going 1 for 3 with a walk.
Crawford and Ortiz opened the eighth with consecutive walks against Leyson Septimo (0-1). Gonzalez then hit a drive into the seats above the Green Monster for just his seventh homer of the season.
Vicente Padilla (3-0) worked one inning for the win, and Alfredo Aceves finished the game.
Ortiz had a walk and single, giving him 10 straight with at least one hit and a walk to set a club record. Ted Williams held the previous mark, going nine straight in 1950.
Youkilis received a warm welcome when he walked up to the plate before his first at-bat. The burly third baseman took off his helmet, turned and waved to all corners.
He then singled up the middle against Aaron Cook. Adam Dunn followed with a grounder to second and Youkilis kept going toward an uncovered third with a shifted infield. First baseman Gonzalez then fired the ball into left for an error, allowing Youkilis to score.
”It was nice,” Chicago manager Robin Ventura said. ”I think everyone kind of kind of expected that for what he’s done here.”
Crawford singled in the bottom half and scored on Gonzalez’s single to right.
Both starters were solid. Cook allowed five hits in seven innings and is 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts since coming off the disabled after getting spiked and cutting his left knee covering home plate.
”Me and Youk grew up together in the Cincinnati area,” Cook said. ”We were on the same travel team for three years. Today is pretty special.”
Chicago’s Dylan Axelrod matched his career high with eight strikeouts and yielded seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.
The Red Sox, who took two of three at Tampa Bay over the weekend, opened a seven-game homestand.
NOTES: White Sox LHP John Danks, out with a mild muscle strain in his shoulder, played long toss and was encouraged by the results. ”I feel like I’m making progress,” he said before the game. ”(Tuesday) we’re going to try doing the same, Wednesday off and Thursday push it back a little farther. Thursday will tell a lot.” He went on the 15-day disabled list in May and figured he would be back by now. … Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury played his fourth straight game since coming off the DL Friday against Tampa Bay. He was sidelined since mid-April with an injured right shoulder.