BOSTON -- It was a sun-splashed Friday that included spine-tingling history, as the Red Sox brought out droves of their greatest all-time players in a ceremony that celebrated the 100th birthday of Fenway Park.
But after the fans toasted the occasion with cups of sparkling grape juice and the game started, the day fizzled swiftly for the Fenway faithful.
Once again, the Red Sox lost, this time enduring a 6-2 defeat to the Yankees in the first of 18 rivalry meetings this season.
Not only did it extend Boston's losing streak to a season-high four games, but it dropped the club to 4-9 on the season under new manager Bobby Valentine.
With the likes of Carl Yastrzemski, Pedro Martinez, Jim Rice, Nomar Garciaparra, Carlton Fisk, Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky among the spectators, the Red Sox did not want to play that way.
"Before the game was spectacular," Valentine said. "It was a well-orchestrated Major League presentation of pride and glory. It was spectacular. It's a downer now."
As the losses pile up, it's hard for Red Sox fans not to feel as if the end of 2011 -- when the team went 7-20 to complete the worst September collapse in Major League history -- is carrying into this season.
"We're definitely trying to do too much," said first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. "It's one of those things that you come up in situations, you want to do good, you definitely try a little hard. Then you've got to give credit to the other side as well."
While Fenway is usually a big advantage for the Red Sox, they've now lost four straight games at home for the first time since April 16-19, 2010.
"I'm frustrated," said Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. "It's been a while. I'm used to winning. I can't remember the last time we lost four games in a row playing at home. We have to fix things up."
To do that, Boston needs to pitch better and figure out how to get some timely hits.
The Red Sox entered the day in last place in the Major Leagues in ERA, and they didn't make any improvements in this one.
Clay Buchholz, who saw his ERA rise to 9.00, struggled for the third time in as many starts, equaling a career high by giving up five homers. The only solace for Buchholz is that they were all solo shots.
Buchholz joined Josh Beckett as Boston pitchers to give up five homers in a game this season. Only two other teams in big league history have had two starting pitchers allow five homers in the same season. One was the 2005 Phillies, and the other was the '09 Red Sox, with Buchholz and Beckett also being the culprits in that season.
In the bigger picture, though, the alarming thing for the Red Sox is that Buchholz has started so slowly, mirroring his team.
"I watch film," Buchholz said. "I don't like to overanalyze, just for the simple fact that it gets you saying that you can't throw certain pitches in certain counts to certain guys. I've never functioned that way. I use it as much as I can to my advantage, but I don't try to go through it too much."
Over six-plus innings, the right-handed Buchholz gave up nine hits and six runs, five of which were earned. He walked two and struck out two. Buchholz has given up five runs or more in all of his starts.
Buchholz didn't pitch after June 16 last year because of back woes.
"He's still building," Valentine said. "This is a guy, he didn't [pitch much] of last year, and he's still getting his feet underneath him."
However, Buchholz refused to use his missed time as an excuse.
"I feel 100 percent healthy," Buchholz said. "I don't think last year has anything to do with it. Today was just a matter of missing up in the zone. When you get a team like that, that can hit mistakes, you can't miss up in the zone or on the plate. That was the case today."
Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova hardly seemed to make any mistakes, as he scattered seven hits and two runs over six innings to earn the win.
Each time the Red Sox showed some promise, they'd hit a hard grounder or line drive right at someone. Such is the case when a team is going bad.
"After a really good celebration for the 100-year anniversary, to come out and lose the first one to these guys is tough," said Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross. "But we can't get discouraged. We've just got to keep going out there, keep battling and eventually, it will turn."
Ortiz went deep for the Red Sox, as he cleared the Green Monster with a lined solo shot that was reversed by the umpires after initially being ruled a double. It was the second homer of the season for Ortiz, who is hitting .392.
The Yankees got their home runs from Eric Chavez (two), Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin.
"It feels good to win," said Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. "We want to win each and every game, regardless of who we're playing. We can't sit around and worry about how difficult our schedule is. We know Boston is good."
The Red Sox are getting antsy to prove that they really are good.
"We have the talent; we just need to execute," said Ortiz. "I'm not going to spend the whole season thinking about the talent that we've got. We have to start winning games. I know that in everybody's mind, it's the beginning of the season, but what is it going to take, until July for us to start winning? We need to step up, do something different and make things happen."