BOSTON -- Before the game, Dave Mellor and his Fenway Park groundskeeping crew rolled out only a batting cage. Not a steel cage in sight.
The pregame discourse was as polite as high tea at the Four Seasons.
The game contained no unseemly gestures, brushback pitches or pistols drawn at 10 paces.
The video scoreboard contained a thank-you message for "all the gritty play" from the Boston Red Sox. Josh Beckett stood in the dugout and applauded with the rest of his teammates.
And Kevin Youkilis, coming back to the place he had called his office for the better part of eight seasons, soaked it all in, turning to salute every nook and cranny of this ancient edifice with his helmet held high, while the largest crowd in the Fens all season -- 38,334 -- serenaded him with a lengthy and surely satisfying "Yoooooouuuukkkk.''
And while he could hold his head high after rising to the occasion of his return here as a member of the Chicago White Sox with three hits, including two doubles, he did not leave as a winner.
The Red Sox beat Youkilis's White Sox, 5-1, Adrian Gonzalez breaking a 1-1 tie in the eighth with a three-run home run, his first homer since June 24, his seventh of the season, and second three-run job.
But it remained to be seen whether Gonzalez's home run came with a cost. David Ortiz, who was on first with a walk, pulled up lame on his circuit around the bases and limped back to the dugout in apparent pain.
On a night that the Sox unveiled Carl Crawford (single, walk, two runs scored) for the first time and the home crowd laid eyes on Jacoby Ellsbury for the first time in three months, the concern was whether Ortiz was the latest in a long string of Sox casualties.