BOSTON (AP) — Hideki Okajima walked Nick Johnson to score the tiebreaking run after a costly error by shortstop Marco Scutaro loaded the bases, and the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 6-4 Tuesday night.
Scutaro, part of Boston’s offseason emphasis on improving its run prevention, fielded Derek Jeter’s routine grounder with two outs in the eighth. But his throw went in the dirt and off first baseman Kevin Youkilis’ glove. Then Okajima (1-1) walked Johnson, scoring Jorge Posada and making the score 5-4.
Robinson Cano added his first homer of the year in the ninth.
Alfredo Aceves (1-0) pitched two hitless innings and Mariano Rivera got his first save of the year and 527th of his career, most in AL history.
Rivera’s appearance earned the Yankees a unique distinction — the only team in the history of major league baseball, the NFL, NBA and NHL with three players who played together in 16 consecutive seasons. Posada and Derek Jeter are the others.
Posada began the eighth with a ground-rule double that tailed away from right fielder J.D. Drew. But he stayed at second when Brett Gardner hit a single to short left field with one out. Curtis Granderson flied out. Then Jeter hit a grounder to Scutaro, one of three free agents signed by Boston to improve its defense.
But his throw bounced just in front of Youkilis, who snared it out of the air after Jeter had crossed first base.
Okajima, the winner of Boston’s 9-7 opening night victory Sunday over New York, then walked Johnson on a 3-1 count. Scott Atchison relieved Okajima and retired Mark Teixeira on a fly out.
Starters A.J. Burnett for New York and Jon Lester for Boston each had rough outings, allowing four runs in five innings.
For Burnett, it was more trouble at Fenway Park where he went 0-2 with an 8.85 ERA in four starts last year. The first time he pitched there in 2009, he allowed eight runs in five innings in Boston’s 16-11 win.
Lester pitched Boston’s second game for the third straight year and struggled each time. He lost 5-1 to Oakland in 2008 in Tokyo and 7-2 to Tampa Bay last year. He gave up a combined nine runs in nine innings. In fact, he’s had a tough time in March and April throughout his career, going 2-4 with a 4.78 ERA in 12 starts before Tuesday.
Boston took a 1-0 lead in the first after Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single, stole second and continued to third when Posada’s throw went into center field for an error. Youkilis, who drove in two runs in Boston’s 9-7 opening night win on Sunday, then hit a sacrifice fly.
New York tied it in the second on a single by Cano, a walk to Posada and an RBI double by Nick Swisher.
Victor Martinez gave the Red Sox a 3-1 lead in the third with his first homer of the year, a two-run shot after Ellsbury’s double.
Then the Yankees jumped in front 4-3 with three runs in the fifth after loading the bases with no outs when Granderson and Jeter singled and Johnson was hit by a pitch. The runs scored when Teixeira grounded into a forceout at second, Alex Rodriguez doubled and Cano hit a sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Righty batter Marcus Thames started in left field for New York in place of lefty Gardner because left-hander Lester started for Boston. Gardner pinch hit for Thames in the sixth when right-hander Manny Delcarmen replaced Lester. … Red Sox No. 5 starter Clay Buchholz plans to throw a simulated game Wednesday. With two days off in the first five of the season, Boston won’t use him until Sunday in Kansas City. … The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Hannah Kearney of Norwich, Vt., who got the first gold medal for the United States at the Vancouver Olympics by winning the women’s moguls. During the opening ceremonies, she wore a Jacoby Ellsbury T-shirt under her Olympic uniform. Ellsbury caught her pitch Tuesday.