Against Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, the Red Sox didn’t have time for a slow start Friday night — not exactly a strength for them this season.
Andrew Benintendi helped Boston solve that issue, and the club just had to hang on from there.
Benintendi hit a solo homer off Arrieta to spark a five-run first inning and Boston beat Chicago 5-4.
The Red Sox had just seven first-inning runs this season entering Friday.
“Being able to scratch a few across, put up a crooked number early is always nice,” Mitch Moreland said. “It kind of helps everybody settle in.”
Every Boston starter had at least one hit, and Moreland, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez also drove in a run each.
Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (2-1) got the win with six innings of two-run ball, surrendering early solo homers to Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. before settling in. He allowed six hits and two walks while striking out seven.
Boston has won its last nine interleague games at Fenway Park.
Arrieta (3-1) logged his shortest start since Aug. 28, 2014, lasting only 4 1/3 innings and giving up 10 hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
“The home run I gave up, just a ball elevated,” Arrieta said. “Made a few pitches in spots that I shouldn’t have. And they strung some hits together.”
Arrieta also had a tough beginning against Cincinnati in his last start, and this is the first time in his career that he has allowed four first-inning earned runs in consecutive outings. Arrieta took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in his last start in Boston on June 30, 2014.
Ben Zobrist also drove in a run for Chicago, which is playing its third regular-season series at Fenway and first since 2014.
After pulling within a run in the seventh, Chicago threatened again in the eighth with runners on first and second and one out. Fernando Abad came on and got both pinch-hitter Matt Szczur and Kyle Schwarber to strike out swinging.
Craig Kimbrel struck out Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to open the ninth before Zobrist doubled. Addison Russell then struck out to end the game, and Kimbrel locked up his eighth save.
“Fernando’s two strikeouts were key, and then Kimbrel has been Craig. He’s been overpowering. Great stuff,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
THE GANG’S ALL HERE
Chicago pitchers Jon Lester, John Lackey and Koji Uehara were given a video tribute after the top of the second inning for their return to Fenway Park. All three were members of Boston’s World Series championship team in 2013.
Anthony Rizzo, once a top prospect in Boston’s farm system, was also back at Fenway along with Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, the former Red Sox general manager who helped end the team’s 86-year championship drought in 2004.
“I’m definitely still a Bostonian. I’m just lucky to have a great second home in Chicago. I consider them both home,” said Epstein, who was raised in nearby Brookline. “How lucky is that?”
WHAT A SHOT
Bryant’s first-inning solo blast over the Green Monster in left field traveled an estimated 449 feet. It was the longest homer at Fenway Park this season and the fifth-longest since the start of the 2015 season, according to Statcast.
As he rounded the bases, Bryant pointed to his parents in the stands. Bryant’s father, Mike, was drafted by the Red Sox and played two seasons in their minor league system.
“That’s probably the only time I’ve ever actually seen my family in the stands,” said Bryant, adding that it might be his favorite home run that he’s ever hit.
Dustin Pedroia had hit in every spot in the lineup except for sixth in 1,415 career games before Friday night, when Farrell shook up the lineup. Pedroia went 2 for3 with a walk and a strikeout out of the sixth hole.
Cubs: Pitching coach Chris Bosio was not with the team for this weekend’s series in Boston as he tends to a personal matter. Bullpen coach Lester Strode filled in for Bosio on Friday.
Red Sox: OF/INF Brock Holt (vertigo) began a five-game rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday night, getting four at-bats as the designated hitter. … LHP David Price (left elbow strain) is still on track to face live hitters Saturday for the first time since spring training.
Cubs: RHP Lackey (1-3, 4.88) makes his first start in Boston since being traded to St. Louis in July 2014. Lackey, who spent three-plus seasons with the Red Sox, is 31-23 with a 4.45 ERA over 67 career starts at Fenway.
Red Sox: RHP Steven Wright (1-2, 8.66 ERA) faces the Cubs for the first time in his career as he looks to bounce back from a loss at Baltimore last Saturday. The knuckleballer is 3-0 with a 2.79 ERA in five career interleague appearances (four starts).