The Red Sox opened up Grapefruit League play with an 8-5 win over the New York Yankees on Saturday afternoon.
Non-roster invitee Josh Smith got the starting nod for Boston in this contest. The 31-year-old right-hander surrendered three earned runs on six hits, including a solo home run off the bat of Gleyber Torres, in less than two innings of work.
Trevor Kelley came in relief for Smith and retired the lone batter he faced to escape the top half of the second.
From there, Marcus Walden, 15th-ranked prospect Travis Lakins, and former Mariners hurler Erasmo Ramirez combined for five frames of scoreless work heading into the middle of seventh.
New York tacked on an additional pair of runs off of Kyle Hart in the eighth, but former 2015 37th round selection Adam Lau was able to record the needed out to end the inning and preserve Boston’s slim one-run lead at the time.
Brian Ellington, who the Red Sox signed to a minor league deal at the beginning of the month, worked his way around two walks in the ninth to preserve the save and the win.
On the other side of things, Tzu-Wei Lin got the scoring started for the Red Sox with a one out RBI single in the second that plated Bryce Brentz from first and cut the Yankees deficit to two.
An inning later, three straight one out hits, capped off by a Rafael Devers RBI single in his first start of the spring, saw Boston pull to within one run.
Following a Rusney Castillo strikeout and a pitching change that saw veteran right-hander Drew Hutchinson take over for starter Nestor Cortes, the Red Sox bats picked up right where they left off.
Another RBI single, this one coming off the bat of Bryce Brentz, allowed Sandy Leon to score from second and knot this contest at three runs a piece.
That stalemate did not last long though, as top Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis unloaded on a 3-2 pitch from Hutchinson and blasted an opposite field three-run shot to put the Red Sox ahead 6-3.
Chavis, 23, slashed .298/.381/.538 with nine home runs and 27 RBI in 46 games between Low A Lowell, Double A Portland, and Triple A Pawtucket. He was handed an 80-game suspension for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program last April.
Fast forward to the bottom half of the eighth, and non-roster invitee Juan Centeno provided some much-needed insurance with a one out two-run single off of Yankees reliever Joe Harvey.
That saw Boston’s advantage inflate from 6-5 to 8-5, which would go on to be the final score in this Grapefruit League opener.
Next up for the Red Sox is a Sunday afternoon contest against the Minnesota Twins. It will be the club’s first chance to see new first-year Twins manager Rocco Baldelli in person.
Baldelli, 37, is a native of Woonsocket, RI. and spent the 2009 season with Boston. He had been on Kevin Cash’s staff with the Tampa Bay Rays for the last four years.
First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.
RHP Ryan Weber is expected to start for the Red Sox.