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2-0 start for new-look Red Sox puts dismal 2012 season behind them

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Jose Iglesias of the

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Jose Iglesias of the Boston Red Sox score in the third inning of a game against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. (April 3, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

There may be no element as powerful as turnover to help a team move forward after a dreadful season. In the case of the Red Sox, that means a new manager, seven new coaches, and eight players on the Opening Day roster who know nothing of the dismal season that made Fenway Park's 100th anniversary utterly forgettable.

"A lot of change has taken some of what happened last year away,'' manager John Farrell said Thursday before his team attempted to complete a season-opening three-game sweep of the Yankees.

Farrell was hired after the dismissal of mercurial Bobby Valentine, whose frequent clashes with players contributed to a poor clubhouse atmosphere and added to the woes of a team crippled by injuries. The combination led to a 69-93 record, the franchise's worst mark since 1965.

Farrell and his staff spent much of spring training working to connect with players Valentine seemingly had lost.

"You build that trust, I think, through consistent communication,'' Farrell said. "They understand what's important to you. At the same time, you can't bottle up guys.''

Ryan Dempster, who started Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, is among the key newcomers. He signed a two-year contract as a free agent after compiling a 12-8 record with a 3.38 ERA in 28 starts last year with the Cubs and Rangers.

Leftfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is another intriguing addition as he makes the leap from Double-A. He scored two runs and knocked in one in each of his first two major-league games, making him only the second Red Sox player to accomplish that since 1916, joining Sam Horn (1987).

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks said it was "very easy'' for returning players to turn the page on the organization's first losing season since 1997. "You don't want that taste in your mouth,'' he said. "It was tough to come to the ballpark last year knowing we were 20 games out.''

Middlebrooks likes the early-season vibe. "We have fun and we work hard,'' he said. "Everybody has come together and we're focused on winning.''

Said scrappy second baseman Dustin Pedroia: "We're just trying to play the game right and hard and that's it.''

Winning the first two games of a 162-game haul may sound insignificant, but it provided a needed lift for a team that staggered home with the American League's third-worst record. The Red Sox outscored the Yankees 15-6, the first time they scored at least seven runs in each of two season-opening road games since 1919, when a 10-0 pounding of the Yankees at the Polo Grounds preceded an 8-0 rout at Washington's Griffith Stadium.

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