Adrian, Crawford soak in Fenway atmosphere

Adrian, Crawford soak in Fenway atmosphere

Adrian, Crawford soak in Fenway atmosphere
BOSTON -- For months, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford geared themselves up for the challenge of helping their new team.

Never did either of them think it would take a week's worth of games to finally taste victory.

So when Jonathan Papelbon induced out No. 27 of the Red Sox's 9-6 victory over the Yankees in Friday's home opener, the two high-profile new guys could finally breathe a little easier.

"It was a little tough, because, you know, with me and Adrian being here, there's high expectations," said Crawford. "To go 0-6 was definitely frustrating for both of us."

Yes, 0-6. That is something only four Red Sox teams have done. And this year's squad, with Gonzalez and Crawford and all that other talent, was the first Boston squad to go winless for the first six games since 1945.

Journey to Opening Day
• Pedro Alvarez, PIT, 3B
Part I | Part II | Part III
• Lance Berkman, STL, OF
Part I | Part II | Part III
• Carl Crawford, BOS, OF
  Adrian Gonzalez, BOS, 1B

Part I | Part II | Part III
• Freddie Freeman, ATL, 1B
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV
• Mitch Moreland, TEX, 1B
Part I | Part II | Part III
• Hunter Pence, HOU, OF
Part I | Part II | Part III
• Andres Torres, SF, OF
Part I | Part II | Part III

Finally, they got to experience a postgame victory line with the Red Sox.

"I kind of didn't know which way to go," joked Gonzalez. "It was a good feeling -- definitely a good feeling. It was good to get that one out of the way."

Playing in front of such a rabid fan base is a new experience for two players who have spent their careers in small markets -- Crawford in St. Petersburg and Gonzalez mainly in San Diego.

Crawford had played 79 games at Fenway before Friday, but never in the home whites.

"It was great out there," said Crawford. "The crowd cheered loud. I joked with a couple of the guys. I said, 'You know, you guys turn into superhumans when you come here.' It was nice to play in front of the crowd."

"I think I've been told all about it, and as I expected, it was great," Gonzalez said.

The contributions made by both players were subtle, yet important in Friday's win.

Crawford went 0-for-5, but he impacted the game with his defense, making two dazzling catches in left. The first was a sliding catch in left-center to rob Curtis Granderson of a hit. In the seventh, with the Red Sox leading by just a run at the time, Crawford roamed into the left-field corner and hauled in a Nick Swisher fly ball by the challenging doorway that has thrown off many outfielders over the years.

"I almost gave up on it," Crawford said. "It looked like it was about to land in the stands. I just drifted back. Fortunately enough for me, I was able to just stick with it and make the catch."

While Crawford hasn't been able to find a groove at the plate yet -- he's at .143 through seven games -- he figures to influence the game in some way with his legs just about every day.

Gonzalez, one of the few Boston players to get off to a good start offensively this season, came up with two more hits. The first was an opposite-field RBI single that went right against the overshift the Yankees were playing. The second? A bunt single of all things.

Because of his smooth opposite-field approach, Gonzalez is surprised when teams overshift on him. He takes pride in making them pay for it.

And yes, don't be surprised if you see him drop more than his fair share of bunt singles this season.

"I don't know if you guys watch, but I put plenty of bunts down during the season when they play that shift," Gonzalez said. "I pick my spots and it's something where I'll take it every time if they give it to me."

They'll also take a win every time -- particularly when it seemed as elusive as this particular one.

"That was real nice just to see everything clicking at one time like that," Crawford said. "I know people had been waiting to see that, and to finally have it happen, it was just fun to be a part of that and to have the guys feeling good about themselves today."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.