BOSTON --- Kevin Youkilis returned to Fenway Park in a big way on Monday night. Unfortunately for the White Sox, so did Adrian Gonzalez.
The slugger hit his first home run since June 24 --- the same day Youkilis was traded to the White Sox --- to power the Boston Red Sox to a 5-1 win over the White Sox in front of 38,334 at Fenway.
Gonzalezs three-run, opposite-field blast against left-handed pitcher Leyson Septimo (0-1) spoiled a warm and fuzzy homecoming for Youkilis and evened the White Sox record at 2-2 on this 10-game road trip.
Septimo entered a game tied at 1 in the seventh inning and stranded a runner when he got Jacoby Ellsbury to pop out.
But the rookie walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth inning --- Carl Crawford and David Ortiz --- before he fell behind Gonzalez 2-1 in the count. His 93-mph fastball caught too much of the plate and Gonzalez deposited his first home run in 66 at-bats over the Green Monster to give the Red Sox a 4-1 lead.
Youkilis return wasnt quite as impactful, but had a fairy tale feel throughout.
Cheers and Youk chants began for the White Sox third baseman 20 minutes before first pitch when he hit the field to warm up.
They continued as he stood in the on-deck circle in the first inning and the largest Red Sox crowd of the year erupted in a standing ovation when Youkilis stepped into the batters box to face Aaron Cook.
Youkilis stepped out, raised his helmet and paused for 30-to-45 seconds before he began his at-bat, which ended with a single to center. The veteran then displayed the heady style that made him popular with Red Sox Nation when he took advantage of the shift against Adam Dunn. Dunn hit a slow chopper to second and with nobody covering third, Youkilis cruised over. Gonzalez saw Youkilis advance and attempted an ill-advised lob that went for a run-scoring error.
Youkilis doubled in his next two at-bats but struck out against Vicente Padilla (3-0) with the game tied at 1 to end the top of the eighth inning.
Three days after he threw 31 pitches in a win at Kansas City, White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod showed no signs of rust against the Red Sox.
Per the norm, the young right-hander struggled in the first inning. He allowed three straight one-out singles with Adrian Gonzalezs tying the game at 1.
In nine first innings, including relief appearances, Axelrod has allowed nine earned runs for a 9.00 ERA. But Axelrods struggles end there as he has a 3.26 ERA in his 47 other innings pitched.
True to form, Axelrod settled down. He struck out Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the first inning and was magnificent from there.
He set down 11 of 12 batters and 17 of the last 21 he faced.
Axelrod struck out the side in the fourth inning and tied a career-high with eight strikeouts.
Those efforts were matched, however, by Red Sox starter Aaron Cook. Cook was efficient and needed only 97 pitches to limit the White Sox to an unearned run and five hits in seven innings.