By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
Final, 5-3 Red Sox: Drama in the ninth. It began with Josh Bell sending a towering flyball into left field, a ball that missed being a home run by just a few inches.
With Bell on second base and the tying run at the plate, Kimbrel gassed Harrison for strike three by hitting 98 mph on the inside edge of the plate.
Next, Kimbrel went 98 on the outside edge to Mercer to get him to fan on strike three.
With two outs, Frazier stepped to the plate. He took strike one, 99 mph over the middle of the plate. Frazier swung and missed at a 98 mph heater off the plate to fall behind 0-2. Kimbrel then went 99 up and away, and Frazier was able to foul it off.
Kimbrel then went to the curveball, and he lost control. It rode in on Frazier and hit him just above the knee.
With the tying run now on first base, Starling Marte stepped to the plate. Marte foul-tipped a 98 mph fastball to begin the at-bat. After ball one, Marte sent a foul ball behind first base. Moreland tracked it down, camped out under it, and made the catch for the final out of the game.
The Red Sox are 1-0.
End 8th, 5-3 Red Sox: A Bogaerts line-drive single off the Monster and a Bradley four-pitch walk goes for naught, as Sandoval strikes out to end the inning.
Now it’s on to Craig Kimbrel to close this one out.
The bottom of the order is due up for Pittsburgh.
Middle 8th, 5-3 Red Sox: Scott threw one pitch, and his day was done. What a world. He got Polanco to ground out, and then Farrell went to Heath Hembree to face Freese.
Freese got into one, but Bradley had plenty of room in center to reel it in for the second out. Cervelli then grounded harmlessly to short, and the Red Sox are three outs away from an opening day win.
End 7th, 5-3 Red Sox: With Felipe Rivero in the game for Pittsburgh, the Red Sox couldn’t add to the lead. Sandy Leon did send a line drive single into center, but Pedroia struck out looking, Benintendi flew out to left, and Betts grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Robby Scott is entering the game for Boston.
Middle 7th, 5-3 Red Sox: Barnes gave up a line-drive single to center field by Mercer to start his outing, cutting the score to 5-2 with two on for the top of the lineup.
The runners moved up to second and third base on a wild pitch by Barnes with Frazier at the plate. Frazier ended up walking, thus loading the bases for Marte with one down. Marte smoked a line drive to left field, but Benintendi made a great break on the ball and made the catch well over his head while in a full sprint to make the catch. It was a sac fly, but that effort saved a couple of runs.
Barnes fell behind McCutchen 2-0 before getting a generous strike call on a fastball below the knees. A foul ball evened the count at 2-2, and Barnes got McCutchen to chase a curveball in the dirt for strike three.
So, it’s 5-3, and this one’s a whole lot tighter.
Porcello’s final line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 SO.
Not blazing numbers, thanks to those two inherited runners scoring, but a solid opening outing of the season overall.
Top 7th, 1 out, 5-1 Red Sox: Rick Porcello’s day is done, but he’s still responsible for two runners on base in the seventh inning. It started when Freese reached on a one-hopped throw from Bogaerts to Moreland, which the first baseman couldn’t scoop. Cervelli then rebounded from two pitches at his chin by sending a towering fly ball to left field, which scraped the Monster for a double.
Porcello was able to get a one out, when Bell dribbled one back to the mound, but Harrison sent a single past a diving Bogaerts into left field to get the Pirates on the board and get Porcello out of the game.
Matt Barnes has entered the game in relief with runners on the corners and one out.
End 6th, 5-0 Red Sox: The Boston bats made Nicasio work, but the reliever escaped the inning unharmed after Bogaerts singled and eventually reached second on a groundout to Harrison.
Middle 6th, 5-0 Red Sox: Porcello avoided a letdown inning, even after a Sandoval throwing error started the inning on the wrong foot. Porcello shook it off, getting Marte to fly out before striking out McCutchen (swinging) and Polanco (looking) to end the sixth.
Solid showing thus far for Porecello, who at 81 pitches still may come back out for the seventh.
On the other side, Cole’s day is done. Juan Nicasio is now on the mound.
End 5th, 5-0 Red Sox: Folks, we’ve got runs. A whole slew of them.
With two outs, Jackie Bradley clobbered a two-seam fastball that caught two much of the plate, sending it all the way to the wall in deep right field for what looked like a double. But McCutchen simply bobbled the ball — it didn’t take a wild carom or anything. McCutchen just booted it, thus allowing Bradley to take third.
Up stepped Sandoval with a runner on third and two outs. After taking a fastball near the chin and swinging through a 99 mph fastball, Sandoval sent a grounder to the hole. Shortstop Jordy Mercer made the backhanded stab and the leap throw, but he got nothing on it and Sandoval was able to beat it out for an RBI infield single.
For emphasis: Pablo Sandoval hit an infield single.
Sandy Leon followed it up by bunting to the abandoned third-base side for a hit, bringing up Dustin Pedroia with two on and two out.
Pedroia sent a 2-0 fastball right back through the box for a line-drive RBI single, as Sandoval was able to come around from second.
Up came Benintendi, who fell behind 1-2. He laid off a breaking ball in the dirt before turning on a 97 mph fastball and sending it deep to right field. McCutchen tracked it all the way to the wall but ran out of room, as the ball dropped right into the bullpen for a three-run homer.
Betts looked to have ended the inning with a grounder to short, but Mercer skipped the throw into first base. Betts took off for second as the ball bounded around near the wall, keeping the inning alive. But that extra runner proved harmless, as Ramirez popped out to Harrison in shallow right.
Cole’s tidy pitch count is no more, as he’s at 76.
Middle 5th, 0-0: If you blinked, you missed that half-inning. Josh Bell popped up to Sandoval on four pitches, Harrison grounded out on one pitch, and Mercer struck out looking on five pitches.
End 4th, 0-0: The Red Sox got back on the basepaths in the form of a two-out walk from Betts, but Ramirez followed that up with a line-drive out to center field.
Pedroia led off with a ground out to second, which sent Harrison onto his keister but was hit hard enough to allow the second baseman to pop up and make the throw in time for the out. Benintendi followed that up with a lazy fly to foul ground in shallow left.
Cole has allowed just two base runners and he’s needed just 50 pitches to get through four innings. Porcello’s been nearly as good, needing 53 pitches to record his first 12 outs.
Middle 4th, 0-0: Jackie Bradley has said hello the 2017 season.
After two quick outs (Polanco groundout, Freese flyout), Cervelli sent a ball to the triangle that just kept going. Bradley broke back, and back, and back, and it looked like Cervelli was going to have a double (at least) on his hand. But Bradley stayed on the ball and made a catch with his arm extended over his head just before crashing into the angled bullpen wall in deep right-center.
That kid … he’s good at that. And the game remains scoreless.
End 3rd, 0-0: A quiet third inning for the Red Sox, with Bradley and Leon sandwiching groundouts to second base around a stinger to left field by Sandoval.
Cole is rolling, at just 34 pitches through three. The Red Sox have just one hit.
Middle 3rd, 0-0: It’s early, but it’s a pitcher’s duel thus far, as Porcello has his stuff working. He just got McCutchen to fan on a breaking ball for strike three, stranding Frazier (who reached on a one-out, two-strike ground ball single past a diving Pedroia) at first base.
End 2nd, 0-0: A leadoff single goes for naught, as Hanley Ramirez stood at first and watched as Mitch Moreland struck out on five pitches. Xander BOgaerts then bounced into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Gerrit Cole looks to be on thus far at Fenway.
Middle 2nd, 0-0: A bit more work required for Porcello in the second, as Gregory Polanco led off the inning with a line drive single through the vacated hole on the left side of the infield. But Polanco was gunned down trying to steal second on the first pitch to the next batter, thus clearing the bases.
David Freese then hit an infield single, followed up by a walk to Cervelli. With two on and one out, Porcello got Bell to fly out to left field and Harrison to go down swinging.
Porcello’s now at 32 pitches after that 21-pitch inning.
End 1st, 0-0: Dustin Pedroia grounded to short on the first pitch before Andrew Benintendi got his feet wet as the No. 2 hitter after a short leadoff at-bat. He did a good job, working the count full and fouling off a heater over the plate, but he ended up striking out. Mookie Betts made some solid contact with two outs but it ended up in Frazier’s glove out in left.
Middle 1st, 0-0: Rick Porcello set the Pirates down in order in the first, getting Frazier to fly out to left, Marte to ground out to second, and McCutchen to fly out to center field. Just 11 pitches needed to get through that one for Porcello.
1:56 p.m.: Brady’s there, along with Rob Gronkwoski, Dion Lewis, James White and Robert Kraft. And, of course, five Lombardi Trophies. Five Lombardi Trophies together looks ridiculous.
Gronkowski swiped the jersey from Brady’s hands and ran away, and Brady chased him down, tackling him in the outside grass. It was a goofy scene, but Tom Brady is a goofy guy.
Brady then threw a lobbed first pitch to Dustin Pedroia, and we’re just about ready for baseball.
1:53 p.m.: Tom Brady is in the house, as you know, and he’s also wearing his now-famous Super Bowl jersey, freshly returned from the FBI.
1:41 p.m.: The Red Sox are being introduced on the field, and the Fenway fans made sure to welcome Chris Sale with an extended standing ovation. That was a rather nice welcome to Boston.
1:35 p.m.: The Pirates are being introduced on the field at Fenway. It’s not exactly like the New York Yankees are in town, as the Fenway fans seem mostly disinterested in the presence of the Pirates.
1:30 p.m.: Tom Brady is in the building.
12 p.m.: Any way you slice it, Opening Day is a glorious time of year.
There are all the trite cliches — hope springs eternal, everybody’s tied for first place, etc. — but at its core, the start of the baseball season really does signify a major change in the year — especially in Boston, where a weekend snowstorm worked to dampen excitement for springtime.
And today at Fenway, the sun will be shining, it will be warm (enough), and baseball will be back.
Rick Porcello will author the first start of his follow-up to his Cy Young season as the Red Sox welcome the Pirates to Fenway Park.
Here are your lineups:
1. Adam Frazier, LF
2. Starling Marte, CF
3. Andrew McCutchen, RF
4. Gregory Polanco, DH
5. David Freese, 3B
6. Francisco Cervelli, C
7. Josh Bell, 1B
8. Josh Harrison, 2B
9. Jordy Mercer, SS
P: Gerrit Cole
1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. Mookie Betts, RF
4. Hanley Ramirez, DH
5. Mitch Moreland, 1B
6. Xander Bogaerts, SS
7. Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
8. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
9. Sandy Leon, C
P: Rick Porcello
Check back here throughout the pregame ceremonies and from the first pitch to the final out, as baseball is officially back in Boston.