NEW YORK — Back in the warmth of the clubhouse, Clay Buchholz took pride in how he chilled the New York Yankees’ bats.
For the first time since 1999, the Boston Red Sox are 2-0.
For the first time since 1935, they began the season with two wins at the Yankees.
“Definitely a big confidence booster,” Buchholz said after Boston beat New York 7-4 on a cold Wednesday night.
Buchholz (1-0) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked two, and the Red Sox backed him with a quick 6-0 lead by scoring five runs with two outs. Joel Hanrahan pitched the ninth for his first save for Boston.
Because of the weather, Buchholz threw in an indoor cage between innings to stay loose.
“If it’s cold, that’s fine,” he said, “but when it’s windy and cold, that’s when it gets you, because the ball sort of gets that little ashy feeling to it and it feels like you’re throwing with a cue ball.”
The crowd of 40,216 was the smallest for a Red Sox-Yankees game in the Bronx since 27,631 were across the street at the old ballpark on May 27, 1999, according to STATS. And for the second straight game, the stadium was nearly empty in the late innings.
“It’s what it’s all about,” Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino explained. “It’s about getting out there and scoring early and getting them out of there.”
Pitcher Hiroki Kuroda became the latest Yankees player to get hurt, leaving in the second inning with a 2-0 deficit, four batters after Victorino’s line drive bruised the middle finger of his pitching hand.
While the Red Sox under new manager John Farrell are off to their best start since going 5-0 in 1999, New York has been outscored 15-6 and outhit 26-15. The Yankees have failed to hold a lead at any point in their opening two games for the first time since 1998.
“It’s not unusual to lose two games in a row. It becomes somewhat glaring when it’s the first two,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. “We didn’t get off to a good start last year and that worked out OK.”
Jacoby Ellsbury drove in two runs for the Red Sox, and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit an RBI single up the middle in the third for his first major league hit.
The ball was waiting for him in his locker, stuffed in a white sock.
“It’s a big thrill. You always want to get the first one out of the way.” he said.
Before the first pitch, the Yankee Stadium sound system played Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded.” But it was 43 degrees at gametime, and Boston shortstop Jose Iglesias and first baseman Mike Napoli wore ski masks.
Kuroda, New York’s most dependable starting pitcher last year at 16-11, allowed three singles in the first and fell behind on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s hit.
Kuroda stuck up his right hand and was struck by Victorino’s drive leading off the second inning. Kuroda was checked by the Yankees and stayed in the game, then hit Bradley with a pitch in the lower leg.
One out later, Kuroda walked Ellsbury on four pitches and forced in a run by hitting Daniel Nava in the lower leg. Girardi went to the mound along with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, trainer Steve Donohue and an interpreter – allowed for the first time under a rules change this year.
“Against the lefties I was unable to make my pitches,” Kuroda said through a translator. “I wasn’t able to put my strength on the ball.”
Kuroda (0-1) left after 1 1-3 innings, the shortest start of his five big league seasons. X-rays and a CT scan were negative.
“There’s no swelling, Scan was good,” he said. “I’ll see the doctor again tomorrow and we’ll see how it goes.”
New York already has five All-Stars on the disabled list: shortstop Derek Jeter, third baseman Alex Rodriguez, first baseman Mark Teixeira, outfielder Curtis Granderson and pitcher Phil Hughes.
Run-scoring singles by Victorino and Bradley off Cody Eppley made it 4-0 in the third, and Iglesias’ double chased Eppley. Ellsbury greeted Adam Warren with a two-run single.
“The last two years still are fresh on everybody’s minds, so of definitely feels good to come out and win the first couple of games,” Buchholz said, “Especially here, because it’s made such a big deal for us to play here and open up here.”
NOTES: RHP Ryan Dempster makes his Red Sox debut in Thursday’s series finale, and LHP Andy Pettitte starts for the Yankees. … Boston started a season by scoring seven or more runs in consecutive road games for the first time since 1919 when they beat the Yankees 10-0 at the Polo Grounds and defeated the Washington Senators 8-0 at Griffith Stadium. … Buchholz won for the first time since Aug. 16 at Baltimore. He was 0-5 in his last eight starts. … Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells hit their first home runs for the Yankees, a solo drive by Hafner in the fourth and a three-run drive by Wells in the eighth against Alfredo Aceves.