Ross-led Red Sox to win 9-4 over the Atlanta Braves

Ross-led Red Sox to win 9-4 over the Atlanta Braves

June 25th, 2012 by Associated Press in Sports - Professional

Boston Red Sox's Kevin Youkilis (20) slides into third base with a triple as Atlanta Braves' Juan Francisco, top, comes down with the high throw in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Boston, Sunday, June 24, 2012. The Red Sox won 9-4.

BOSTON -- Cody Ross hit two homers and drove in five runs as the Boston Red Sox beat the Atlanta Braves 9-4 Sunday in Kevin Youkilis' farewell to the Fenway Park fans.

The Red Sox traded the three-time All-Star and cash to the Chicago White Sox for utilityman Brent Lillibridge and right-handed pitcher Zach Stewart.

After hitting an RBI triple in the seventh inning, Youkilis was taken out for a pinch runner. Longtime pal Nick Punto came out to replace him and the pair hugged.

The burly infielder, in his ninth season with the Red Sox, took his helmet off and waved to the crowd, blew a kiss and was urged to come out for a curtain call by his teammates before heading down the steps. He was given a lengthy standing ovation, and the fans chanted "Yook."

Manager Bobby Valentine said after the game that general manager Ben Cherington told him "there is a situation brewing" before that Youkilis at-bat.

"Bobby wanted him to have that moment of walking off the field," Cherington said.

A member of Boston teams that won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, the 33-year-old Youkilis had seen his playing time drastically cut lately. He now joins the American League Central-leading White Sox, who wanted a regular third baseman.

"I just got off the phone with him. He's very excited to join our club, and he's got a little edge to him that I like," White Sox GM Kenny Williams said. "I can't tell you exactly what he said, but he wants to come in and prove some people wrong."

With its ninth win in 11 games, Boston completed interleague play with a winning record for the eighth straight season (11-7).

Atlanta lost for the ninth time in 13 games, concluding interleague play 8-10, but Jason Heyward continued his torrid June by hitting a solo homer among his three hits. Heyward is hitting .391 this month with five homers and 12 RBIs.

Aaron Cook (1-1), making just his second start with the Red Sox and first since going on the disabled list May 6 after sustaining a cut on his left knee covering home plate, gave up three runs -- two earned -- six hits and didn't walk or strike out anyone in five innings.

Cook filled-in for Clay Buchholz, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with what Valentine called a "gastrointestinal issue."

Braves starter Mike Minor (3-6) gave up three homers and allowed seven runs -- four earned -- in 4 2/3 innings.

The Red Sox jumped ahead with a four-run fourth. After breezing through the first three innings allowing just a pair of singles, Minor walked the first two batters in the inning. Ross then homered into the first row of seats above the Green Monster, making it 3-0. One pitch later, Adrian Gonzalez sliced a fly into the Monster seats to make it 4-0.

The Braves capitalized on Cook's throwing error for a run during a three-run fifth. Eric Hinske had a two-run double into the center-field triangle after Heyward and Andrelton Simmons singled. Juan Francisco then bounced back to the mound and Cook had Hinske off the bag but threw widely past third to allow him to score to make it 4-3. Cook retired the next three batters, finishing his work.

In the fifth, Boston scored three unearned runs off Minor when Will Middlebrooks had a sacrifice fly and Ross followed with a two-run homer completely out of Fenway Park over the Monster, making it 7-3. Simmons made a throwing error on Kelly Shoppach's grounder to open the inning when he fired the ball into the Red Sox dugout.

Heyward homered off Matt Albers in the sixth.

Hinske started just his 20th game this season for Atlanta and doubled and tripled his first two times up.