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The Opening Day sideshows were all over the place.
A flyover by two jet planes and fireworks before the game. The ceremonial first pitch by Pedro Martinez. Live performances of "God Bless America" by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler during the seventh-inning stretch, and "Sweet Caroline," a Red Sox theme song, by Neil Diamond after the top of the eighth.
Then there was the usual serious stuff — another wild game between Boston and the New York Yankees in the latest installment of their rivalry, a game won by the Red Sox 9-7 with two comebacks Sunday in the first night opener in the 98-year history of Fenway Park.
"It seems like a lot of games go like this," Derek Jeter said. "Something with this field, you know, it just seems like the game's never over with."
"It was cranked up to what it was supposed to be. It showed on both sides," Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson said after his first regular-season game since being obtained from Detroit.
The other centerfielder, also new to his team, agreed.
"It was good," Boston's Mike Cameron said, "a little nerve-racking, but it was good."
Kevin Youkilis had three extra-base hits, Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer, and three new starters had big nights with the bat as Boston rallied to beat the defending World Series champions in the major league opener.
General manager Theo Epstein emphasized "run prevention" in building the team for the new season. That became more important when Jason Bay, who led the Red Sox with 36 homers last year, signed with the New York Mets.
But the Red Sox needed just one game to show they have the ability to score runs.
"We all have faith in ourselves," said Youkilis, who scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball in the seventh inning. "It's good to get a win opening night. It's good for the city. It's good for the fans. It's good for the players. It's good for everyone. ... but it's still just one game."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had little doubt the Red Sox would hit.
"We expected them to score runs," he said. "We know they have a very good offensive team. You look at the guys they brought in."
Boston's three new starters, Cameron, third baseman Adrian Beltre and shortstop Marco Scutaro all are outstanding fielders. And all had solid nights at the plate, going a combined 5 for 9 with 3 RBIs.
"I think it's great for them because there's a lot of pressure here and it's good to see them get the hits out of the way," Youkilis said.
The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the second on back-to-back homers by Jorge Posada and Granderson off Josh Beckett. Going into the bottom of the fifth, they led 5-1 and CC Sabathia had allowed just one hit: Youkilis' leadoff double in the second. But Scutaro singled in the fifth and the Red Sox tied it in the sixth on a two-run triple by Youkilis and an RBI single by Beltre.
New York regained the lead with two in the seventh on a run-scoring groundout by Robinson Cano and an RBI single by Posada.
Then it was Boston's turn to go ahead with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Pedroia tied it with a two-run homer and Youkilis made it 8-7 when he doubled and scored on a passed ball by Posada. The last run scored on Pedroia's single in the eighth.
"No lead is ever safe here," Jeter said. "They battled. It's disappointing anytime you score seven runs and CC's on the mound. You like our chances."
Hideki Okajima pitched a scoreless inning to get the win and Jonathan Papelbon worked the ninth for the save.
Chan Ho Park recorded just two outs while picking up the loss in his Yankees debut. The right-hander was charged with three runs and three hits.
Martinez, the former Red Sox ace who is now a free agent, had a better day than both starters. He received a warm ovation as he headed for the mound from the left-field wall. He smiled all the way and waved to the fans.
Beckett allowed five runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings. It was the worst of five opening-day starts for the right-hander, who had allowed just four runs in 22 2-3 innings in his previous four.
The long-term contract extension he's expected to sign soon "never crossed my mind," Beckett said. "I never established my curveball, at least not for strikes."
Sabathia struggled for his third straight opener, one with Cleveland and the last two with New York after signing a $161 million, seven-year contract.
"It fell definitely on my shoulders. I'm very disappointed," he said. "I had a pretty good lead and I was trying to throw the ball over the plate a little too much."
And the Red Sox hitters took advantage.
"It's awesome," Beckett said. "They definitely picked me up."
Sunday's opener echoed the teams' first head-to-head match-up of the 2009 season, as the Sox came back from a two-run deficit in the ninth inning of that game before Youkilis blasted a walk-off home run in the 11th.
WBUR's Jack Lepiarz contributed to this report.
This program aired on April 5, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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