Adrian Gonzalez stole the show in Kevin Youkilis' return to Boston, as the Red Sox topped the White Sox, 5-1, in the opener of a four-game set at Fenway Park.
Gonzalez broke a tie game in the eighth inning with a three-run blast over the Green Monster to give Boston a 4-1 lead.
Youkilis was greeted with a loud ovation and chants of "Youk!" in his first game in Boston since being traded to Chicago on June 24. He did not disappoint in his return, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a run scored.
"The place was pretty loud and rocking," Youkilis said. "It was really cool. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone. I just wish it could have ended better and wish we could have won the game."
Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford also returned to Fenway on Monday after missing the first three-plus months of the season on the disabled list. Crawford, who hit second, recorded a hit in his first at-bat back and scored twice, including the winning run on Gonzalez's homer.
Despite allowing first inning runs, Aaron Cook and Dylan Axelrod engaged in a pitching duel. Cook remained hot for the Red Sox, holding Chicago to an unearned run on five hits in seven innings. Since returning from the disabled list on June 24, the veteran right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.67 earned run average.
Axelrod, who pitched in relief on July 13, made the spot start for Chicago and tossed 6 2/3 dominant innings. He allowed one run on seven hits and struck out eight without issuing a walk.
Crawford and David Ortiz worked a pair of walks to start the eighth before Gonzalez pounded a 2-1 fastball over the Green Monster in left-center field to give Boston the lead. Ortiz showed discomfort when he rounded second base on the homer and apparently suffered an Achilles injury. He will undergo an MRI on Tuesday, but does not expect the injury to be serious.
"I think I'll be all right," Ortiz said. "I didn't hear a pop so that's good."
The Red Sox added an extra insurance run. Cody Ross followed the blast with a base hit. He stole second base then scored when Mike Aviles dropped a base hit into right field.
Youkilis singled in his first at-bat as a visitor at Fenway, eventually giving the White Sox an early lead. Adam Dunn grounded out to second base but, with no one covering third base because of the shift, Youkilis took the extra base. In an attempt to throw out Youkilis on his way to third, Gonzalez made an errant throw allowing Youkilis to score.
Boston tied the game in the bottom half of the frame when Crawford helped ignite a rally in his first at-bat of 2012. Crawford punched a single up the middle then advanced to third on a base hit by Ortiz. Gonzalez lined a base hit to right, scoring Crawford to tie the game before the pitchers took over.
Vicente Padilla (3-0) received the win after pitching a perfect eighth inning in relief of Cook.
Leyson Septimo (0-1) took the loss after allowing the Gonzalez home run. He gave up three runs on a hit and two walks in one-third of an inning.
Alfredo Aceves worked around a one-out walk to finish off the win.
Boston snapped a seven-game home losing streak against Chicago...The White Sox, who went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, are 11-for-63 with RISP in their last six games...Chicago did not homer for the first time in seven games...Ortiz went 1-for-3 with a walk, recording at least one hit and one walk in 10 straight games, passing Ted Williams for the longest such streak in Red Sox history...Ortiz has hit in 11 straight games and 17 of his last 18 games...Cook did not record a strikeout for the fourth time in five starts this season.