Rapid Reaction: Yankees 4, Red Sox 2

The Yankees finally gave their fans a reason to stick around for an entire game.

The Bronx Bombers secured their first win this season as they defeated Boston, 4-2, on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees had been bludgeoned by Boston in the first two games, causing mass exoduses in the stands before the final out, but never trailed Thursday night.

VINTAGE ANDY: Veteran Andy Pettitte had a fantastic first outing, as he threw eight innings of one-run ball to record the victory. He had by far the best start by any Yankees pitcher this series, although that wasn't much of a challenge, and navigated Boston's lineup with relative ease. The key for Pettitte was his ability to continually get ahead of hitters with first-pitch strikes.

SANDMAN RETURNS: Closer Mariano Rivera pitched in his first game since tearing his ACL and meniscus last May, and recorded the save. Thursday's appearance also marked the first outing of what will be Rivera's final season, as he's retiring at the end of the season. Rivera allowed a run on a walk and a hit.

HEADS UP: Francisco Cervelli might not be known for his defense, but he made a fantastic play in the first inning. After retrieving a wild pitch in the first inning, he scurried back to the plate just in time to tag out a gambling Shane Victorino, who tried to score from second on the wild pitch. Cervelli's heads-up play possibly prevented a big inning, as Boston had two runners on at the time. He later added his first home run of the season to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead in the seventh.

GOING YARD: Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner homered for the first time in 19 months when he deposited a ball in the right-field stands in the third inning to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Gardner, who doesn't have much power, last hit a home run on Sept. 6, 2011 against Baltimore.

TAKE YOUR TIME DEREK: Shortstop Eduardo Nunez had a great night at the plate as he reached base three times and scored a run. Nunez, who's batting .400 to start the year, went 2-for-3 with a double and a single, although he did get caught stealing. The Yankees need Nunez to make up for his defensive inefficiencies with his bat, and he did just that Thursday.

UP NEXT: The Yankees will head to Detroit to take on the squad that eliminated them in the postseason last season. Ivan Nova will oppose Doug Fister at 1:05 p.m.