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Napoli powers Red Sox past Blue Jays in Farrell’s return to Toronto

Boston Red Sox's Dustin Pedroia (left) congratulates Mike Napoli at home plate after Napoli hit a two-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth inning of their game in Toronto April 5, 2013.
By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

TORONTO — Mike Napoli hit the first Red Sox home run of the season and drove in three runs as Boston defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 to give manager John Farrell a victorious return to Rogers Centre on Friday.

Napoli drove in two runs with his fifth-inning homer to put Boston ahead 4-1. With the game tied 4-4 in the eighth, he brought home the go-ahead run with a groundout to third before a crowd of 45,238 that booed Farrell.

Esmil Rogers (0-1) replaced lefthander Brett Cecil with one out in the eighth and walked pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes. Dustin Pedroia doubled off the center-field wall sending Gomes to third, and he scored on the groundout.

Will Middlebrooks homered against Jeremy Jeffress to lead off the ninth and put Boston (3-1) up by two. The Blue Jays escaped the inning despite the third error of the game by second baseman Emilio Bonifacio and two walks.

Mark DeRosa hit his first homer in three years for the Blue Jays (1-3) to lead off the bottom of fifth as the Blue Jays cut into Boston’s lead with two runs. Jose Reyes tied the game 4-4 with one out in the seventh against reliever Junichi Tazawa (1-0) with his first homer of the season and fourth hit of the game. Melky Cabrera tripled to the gap in right center with two out but Edwin Encarnacion lined out to center.

Andrew Bailey pitched the eighth for Boston and Joel Hanrahan picked up the save.

Blue Jays starter Josh Johnson allowed nine hits and four runs (three earned) in six innings. Boston lefthander Felix Doubront allowed nine hits and three runs in five innings.

Farrell, who was Toronto’s skipper in the previous two seasons, was booed loudly when he took the lineup out to the umpires before the game. On his way back to the dugout, he tipped his cap. The fans also derisively called out his name at times during the game. Farrell left the Blue Jays after the second year of a three-year contract to take the Boston job.

Each team scored a run in the second.

Boston’s Shane Victorino and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit one-out singles and Jose Iglesias was hit by a pitch to load the bases in the top of the inning. Jacoby Ellsbury singled in one run but Daniel Nava grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

Rajai Davis singled with one out in the home second, took third on a double by Colby Rasmus and came home on a sacrifice fly to right by DeRosa.

Blue Jays second baseman Bonifacio made errors on consecutive batters with one out in the fourth, the first on his throw to first and the second when he muffed a potential double-play grounder. Pedro Ciriaco batted for Iglesias and singled in a run. He stayed in the game at shortstop.

Boston took a 4-1 lead in the fifth when Napoli homered after Pedroia led off with a single.

DeRosa led off the bottom of the fifth with his first home run since April 5, 2010. Maicer Izturis followed with a single and scored on a double to left by Reyes, who was out trying for a triple.

NOTES: Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, who twisted his ankle running to first base in the eighth inning of Thursday’s 10-8 win over Cleveland, did not start in Friday’s game. Davis started in right field. … Bradley entered Friday’s game with RBIs in each of Boston’s first three games. Those also were his first three games in the majors. Since the RBI became an official statistic in 1920, the only other Red Sox player to drive in a run in each of his first three big-league games was Jim Rice. … Victorino’s first-inning single meant he had hit safely in each of the first four games of the season. His longest career hitting streak to open a season was five games in 2007. … DeRosa started at first base for the Blue Jays on Friday with Encarnacion as DH. Adam Lind was on the bench with Doubront starting.

Tigers 8, Yankees 3: Prince Fielder homered twice and drove in five runs as Detroit matched its run total from the first three games and pounded visiting New York.

Alex Avila added a solo homer and Doug Fister (1-0) allowed three runs on six hits in five innings to pick up the win for the Tigers, who had dropped two of three at Minnesota to begin the campaign.

Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run homer but Yankees starter Ivan Nova (0-1) struggled with his command and was charged with four runs on five hits and a pair of walks in 4 2/3 innings.

Brett Gardner scored on a wild pitch in the fifth to get New York on the board and Youkilis followed with a blast into the bullpen in left-center field to put New York on top 3-2.

Detroit responded immediately in the bottom of the inning when Nova was pulled with two runners on after hitting Miguel Cabrera. Fielder greeted left-hander Boone Logan by sending a line drive into the seats in right field to put the Tigers on top, and he added a two-run blast in the seventh off Shawn Kelley.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Yankees SS Eduardo Nunez was hit by a pitch on the right arm in the fourth inning and had to be helped back to the dugout. He was diagnosed with a bruised right biceps and replaced by Jayson Nix. … New York OF Brennan Boesch, who was released by the Tigers in spring training, made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Fielder of an extra-base hit in the third inning and went 1-for-4 at the plate. … Tigers LHP Drew Smyly worked four perfect innings and struck out five in relief to earn the save.


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