Daniel Nava wears a big smile as he crosses home plate after hitting the eventual, game-winning three-run homer at Fenway Park on Saturday.
BOSTON — After honoring the victims and the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Red Sox kept on with their best start in 11 years by beating the Kansas City Royals 4-3 Saturday as David Ortiz played his first game since last summer and Daniel Nava hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning.
The Red Sox wore white home jerseys with “Boston” on the front instead of the customary “Red Sox.” The shirts will be auctioned off for a fund to support victims of the bombing.
Kansas City players and staff wore a “B Strong” patch on the front of their jerseys. Neil Diamond sang Red Sox favorite “Sweet Caroline” before the bottom of the eighth.
The 37-year-old Ortiz injured his right Achilles tendon running the bases on July 17 and appeared just once in Boston’s final 72 games, against the Royals on Aug. 24.
Ortiz was bothered by inflammation in both heels during spring training and didn’t play in any exhibition games. He was 2 for 4 in his return, tying the score 1-all with a sixth-inning RBI single off James Shields.
Following the emotional pregame ceremony, the Red Sox won their sixth straight games — four since Monday’s bombings at the marathon finish line.
Clay Buchholz (4-0) allowed eight hits in eight innings, struck out six and walked one. Andrew Bailey allowed Lorenzo Cain’s leadoff homer over the Green Monster in the ninth, his fourth hit of the game, then got his third save when Alex Gordon hit a game-ending groundout with two on.
Shields gave up one run and four hits in six innings with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Buchholz extended his scoreless streak to 22 innings before Cain doubled in the fifth and scored on Jeff Francoeur’s single.
Cain doubled leading off the seventh and scored on Salvador Perez’s two-out RBI triple for a 2-1 lead. But Jonny Gomes doubled against Tim Collins starting the eighth and Dustin Pedroia walked. After Ortiz grounded into a double play, Kelvin Herrera (1-2) walked Mike Napoli on four pitches and Nava homered to right.
NOTES: Cain is 11 for his last 16. ... Shields entered just 2-9 with a 5.86 ERA in his career in Fenway Park. ... Boston OF Shane Victorino left the game with lower back tightness. ... Boston’s starters have allowed three or fewer runs in all 16 games this season.
TORONTO — Blue Jays reliever Aaron Loup made a two-run throwing error in the 11th inning and the New York Yankees beat Toronto 5-3 on Saturday for their ninth win in 11 games.
Shawn Kelley (1-0) got two outs in the 10th for the win and Mariano Rivera finished for his fifth save.
Vernon Wells and Francisco Cervelli singled off Loup (1-1) to begin the 11th, and Ichiro Suzuki followed with a bunt to the third base side of the mound that Loup and third basemen Brett Lawrie both charged. Loup fielded it and wheeled to throw to third. But with Lawrie out of position as he retreated back to the bag, the ball sailed into foul territory and down the left field line, allowing both runners to score.
The Blue Jays used a single and a sacrifice to put the winning run in scoring position with one out in the 10th but Kelley came on and got Rajai Davis to pop out, then got Melky Cabrera to ground out.
Toronto lost for the fifth time in seven games and fell a season-high four games below .500.
New York infielder Kevin Youkilis left after five innings with a sore lower back and was replaced by Lyle Overbay.
Vernon Wells opened the scoring with a homer off the left field foul screen in the second, his fifth of the season and second in two days. Wells has five homers in 15 career games against his former team.
New York made it 3-0 in the fifth. Jayson Nix led off with a single and went to third on Brett Gardner’s double. One out later, Robinson Cano was walked to load the bases for Youkilis, who ripped a liner to third that bounced off Lawrie’s glove and rolled into shallow left for a two-run single.
Wells singled to load the bases but Cervelli grounded into a double play.
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, who beat Baltimore with a five-hit shutout in his previous start, allowed just two hits through the first seven innings, but was replaced by David Robertson after Colby Rasmus’ one-out single under Overbay’s glove in the eighth.
Maicer Izturis struck out and pinch hitter Adam Lind walked before Rajai Davis grounded an RBI single up the middle. The run snapped Kuroda’s streak of shutout innings at 20 2-3 dating to his April 8 start at Cleveland.
Cabrera followed with a two-run single to center that bounced away from Gardner, tying it at 3-all. Jose Bautista walked but Robertson fanned Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning.
The two hits with runners in scoring position in the eighth were one more than the Blue Jays had in their previous six games combined, when they went 1 for 29.
Kuroda allowed one run and three hits in 7 1-3 innings. He walked one and struck out a season-high seven.
Making the 400th start of his career, Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle allowed three runs and eight hits in a season-high seven innings. His only walk was intentional and his seven strikeouts were a season-high.
NOTES: Yankees manager Joe Girardi said LH Andy Pettitte had only “normal soreness” one day after beating Toronto. Pettitte had missed his previous start because of back spasms. ... Attendance was 46,095. ... Blue Jays RH Josh Johnson (0-1) faces New York RP Ivan Nova (1-1) in Sunday’s series finale.
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