Aaron Cook was strong for seven innings but didn't factor in the decision as Adrian Gonzalez's three-run homer helped the Red Sox to a 5-1 over the Chicago White Sox in front of 38,334 at Fenway Park. It was the largest crowd this season at the Fens. And that wasn't probably a coincidence with Youk returning.
Youk definitely did his best to come out a winner for the first time in an opposing uniform. He was single handedly responsible for the only White Sox run of the game.
After his rousing ovation, Youk laced a single to center. With the shift on, Adam Dunn grounded out to second but Youk continued running to third with Will Middlebrooks not covering the bag because of the shift. Adrian Gonzalez tried to lead WMB with the throw but it was incomplete and went to left field allowing Youk to score.
Cook held the White Sox to five hits on the night. Youk was responsible for three of them. He added doubles in the 3rd and 6th innings but was left stranded there both times.
Even with the hot and humid weather, Cook worked quickly on the mound. He pounded the strike zone all night long with his sinker as he threw 67 of his 99 pitches for strikes. Vicente Padilla followed Cook with a 1-2-3 inning while Alfredo Aceves worked the 9th with just a walk.
Gonzalez actually knocked in four runs on the night. His RBI single in the 1st inning scored Carl Crawford, who was making his 2012 debut. His home run in the 8th inning came after White Sox reliever Leyson Septimo had walked Crawford and David Ortiz. Mike Aviles knocked in Cody Ross for the final run of the night.
It was a nice return for Crawford as he went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Given Youk's return to the Fens, it probably made his debut a little bit easier as I'm sure some might not have even noticed.
With the exceptions of Youk (trade) and Dustin Pedroia (disabled list), this was seven of the nine guys we expected to see when the Red Sox opened up the season. And with Pedroia returning on Thursday, as long as the team can stay healthy, it could go places.
I said stay healthy because Big Papi injured himself while running hard on Gonzo's blast in the 8th. He was only running hard because there's always that chance it hits the Green Monster. But it didn't and when he realized that he slowed up. But as he hit the second base bag, he slowed up.
Skipper Bobby Valentine said after the game that Papi had injured his heel and should only miss a few games. He is scheduled for an MRI today and hopefully it shows nothing major.
The Red Sox are just finishing putting the band together finally. We want it to stay that way.
We'll be back later with today's lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. So for now, let's take at look at the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you're on the home page.
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Powerful stuff [boston globe]
Cook finds quick recipe for success [boston globe]
Youkilis comfortable in new Sox [boston globe]
Crawford happy to be back [boston globe]
Ortiz injures Achilles’ tendon [boston globe]
Youkilis returns with only fond Red Sox memories [boston globe]
Adrian Gonzalez hits clutch home run as Red Sox win [boston herald]
David Oritz pulls up lame [boston herald]
Aaron Cook gets job done again with keen efficiency [boston herald]
Kevin Youkilis in no mood to feud [boston herald]
Carl Crawford helps out in return [boston herald]
Gonzalez power returns, too [csn new england]
Another solid outing from Aaron Cook [csn new england]
Crawford gets off to a good start [csn new england]
Ortiz the latest to go down with injury [csn new england]
Youkilis gets everything but a win [csn new england]
Youkilis doesn't look back in anger [csn new england]
Notebook: Lillibridge designated for assignment [csn new england]
Crawford 'nervous' but happy to be back [csn new england]
Gonzo's HR drought ends at the right time [csn new england]
Nava sticks; Lillibridge designated [espn boston]
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 5, White Sox 1 [espn boston]
Cook finds way to sink White Sox [espn boston]
Bard yields two-run homer for PawSox [espn boston]
Ross, Ortiz admit extra motivation facing former squads [projo sox blog]
What do the Sox have in Aaron Cook? [projo sox blog]
Ortiz hurt running bases, to have MRI [redsox.com]
Adrian's three-run HR defeats Youkilis, White Sox [redsox.com]
Source: Sox not actively pursuing Dempster [alex speier - weei.com]
Why a Ryan Dempster deal doesn't make sense for the Red Sox [alex speier - weei.com]
photo credit: Getty Images