NEW YORK — Andy Pettitte pitched the Yankees to their first win of the season and Mariano Rivera made a successful return to the mound in New York’s 4-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.
Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli homered for the Yankees, providing some unexpected power to a depleted lineup missing the “sore four” — Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson. All those All-Stars are on the disabled list, and without them New York dropped its first two games at home to the rival Red Sox.
Gardner and Cervelli each hit a solo shot, the first homer for both since they went back-to-back off Baltimore’s Tommy Hunter on Sept. 6, 2011. Neither player spent much time on the active big league roster last season.
Lyle Overbay had a two-run single off Ryan Dempster (0-1), who struck out eight in his Boston debut but needed 101 pitches to get through five innings. The two-time All-Star signed a $26.5 million, two-year contract in December after spending last season with the Cubs and Rangers.
Pettitte (1-0) tossed eight sharp innings on a chilly night and Rivera entered to a standing ovation from those left in the bundled-up crowd of 40,611 as the familiar chords of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blared over the Yankee Stadium speakers.
Baseball’s career saves leader, set to retire after this season, missed most of last year after tearing a knee ligament May 3 while shagging flies during batting practice in Kansas City.
Rivera issued a leadoff walk to Dustin Pedroia and gave up a one-out double to Jonny Gomes before Will Middlebrooks drove in a run with a groundout. But the right-hander threw a called third strike past rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. for his 609th save and first since April 30 last year at Baltimore.