As Boston and the surrounding suburbs exhaled deeply, Daniel Nava sent the crowd at Fenway Park into a frenzy with a three- run homer in the bottom of the eighth, helping the Red Sox beat the Kansas City Royals, 4-3, Saturday afternoon.
The teams were set to open this three-game series Friday, but the game was postponed because of the massive manhunt for the second Boston Marathon bomb suspect, who was taken into custody Friday night.
Nava's two-out shot off Kelvin Herrera (1-2) erased a 2-1 deficit.
"He left a change-up middle-in and he hit for a homer. I don't bail on guys after a bad outing, or two bad outings. He had bad outing, a good outing and then another bad outing. He will get on a good roll and be fine," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Herrera.
Andrew Bailey gave up a leadoff home run to Lorenzo Cain in the ninth, but retired Alex Gordon on a grounder to short with two men on base to close out Boston's seventh straight win.
"A fantastic finish to a great day," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Boston starter Clay Buchholz (4-0) gave up two runs on eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts in eight innings.
David Ortiz collected two hits and one RBI in his season debut for the Red Sox, who have won 12 of their first 16 games for the first time since 2002.
Ortiz was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Saturday's emotional contest. He began the season on the DL because of right Achilles tendinopathy after being limited to 90 games last year.
Cain finished 4-for-4 with two doubles and scored three runs for the Royals, who have dropped four of six. Kansas City starter James Shields earned a no- decision after holding the Red Sox to one run on four hits in six frames.
A pinch-hitting Jonny Gomes doubled off the Green Monster to begin the Boston eighth. Dustin Pedroia then walked and Gomes went to third when Ortiz grounded into a double play.
Herrera replaced Tim Collins on the mound and walked Mike Napoli on four pitches before serving up Nava's home run to right field.
The Royals opened the scoring in the fifth, as Cain led off with a double and scored on Jeff Francoeur's one-out single.
A two-out single by Ortiz plated Jacoby Ellsbury with the tying run in the sixth, but Kansas City quickly moved back in front.
Cain doubled to begin the seventh and came home on Salvador Perez's two-out, opposite-field triple to right.
The Red Sox and Royals will make up their postponed game from Friday as part of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday ... The Red Sox have won seven games in a row for the first time since a nine-game run from June 3-12, 2011 ... Buchholz entered the game riding an 18 inning scoreless streak ... Red Sox starters have allowed three runs or fewer in all 16 games this season ... To make room for Ortiz, the club optioned outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. to Triple-A Pawtucket ... Boston right fielder Shane Victorino left the game with low back tightness ... Neil Diamond led the crowd in a rousing rendition of "Sweet Caroline" after the top of the eighth inning.