Ciriaco blooped an RBI single in the 10th inning for his latest big hit in this rivalry, and the Red Sox squeaked out a 3-2 victory Sunday night moments after manager Bobby Valentine was ejected.
Ryan Sweeney hit an early two-run double for Boston, which took two of three in its first visit to New York this season despite grounding into four double plays against Hiroki Kuroda. The last-place Red Sox (51-51) left town 9 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees.
“We’re trying to win series now,” Valentine said. “We did it the hard way. After losing the first, we battled in two tough games. I’m proud of the guys. That’s a great effort.”
Felix Doubront held the Yankees scoreless until Russell Martin homered leading off the seventh inning. Martin also hit a tying single with two outs in the eighth off closer Alfredo Aceves (2-6), who went the rest of the way for the win.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew a leadoff walk from David Robertson (1-4) in the 10th, and Will Middlebrooks squared to bunt. Robertson’s inside pitch appeared to deflect off Middlebrooks’ right wrist, and the rookie yanked his hand away immediately as he spun to the ground.
The next thing the ball hit, however, was the left shin of plate umpire Brian O’Nora, who tumbled to the ground in pain. Trainers checked on Middlebrooks and O’Nora during a long delay, and Middlebrooks finally started toward first base.
But the umpires ruled it a foul ball and brought Middlebrooks back to home plate. Valentine engaged in a lengthy discussion with the umps that finally grew heated and animated. He was ejected by O’Nora and threw his chewing gum in foul territory before returning to the dugout.
“He heard it. That’s what I take exception with,” Valentine said. “No one saw anything. He just heard it. What are you going to do? I’m not going to say anything that’s going to get me fined any more.”
It was Valentine’s third ejection in his first season with Boston, and the 40th of his managerial career. Moments later, Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett was tossed by third base umpire and crew chief Tom Hallion after apparently jawing from the dugout.
“The ball hit the bat,” O’Nora said. “That’s it.”
Once play resumed, Middlebrooks grounded an 0-2 pitch through the left side for a single. Sweeney bounced into a force play that left runners at the corners, and Ciriaco plopped a soft fly into shallow right beyond the reach of a drawn-in infield.
“We’ll take bloops. We need them,” Valentine said.
Called up July 6 from Triple-A Pawtucket, Ciriaco has go-ahead hits in all three Red Sox wins over the Yankees in nine meetings this season—including a ninth-inning triple Saturday. He is 11 for 22 with six RBIs against New York.
“Somehow in that situation, I feel confidence,” Ciriaco said.
Andrew Miller pulled Boston out of a dicey jam in the seventh and got the first two outs of the eighth before Andruw Jones doubled. Martin lined Aceves’ first pitch to center, and Jones scored without a play.
It was the fifth blown save for Aceves in 27 chances.
Martin moved up on a wild pitch but was stranded when Ichiro Suzuki flied out. Suzuki stranded five runners on the night.
“Usually with this offense you’re going to get some good results, but it just didn’t happen today,” Kuroda said through a translator.
Aceves plunked Nick Swisher with a two-out pitch in the 10th, then struck out pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez to end it. After winning a nine-pitch battle with Ibanez, Aceves pumped his fist hard in front of the mound.
Kuroda allowed seven hits over eight innings in his latest strong outing.
“We didn’t really have a lot of opportunities,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Doubront was tough on us, and he’s been tough on us all three of his starts.”
NOTES: The 62-year-old Valentine took a few cuts during early batting practice. “Power stroke,” he said. “I think I was out in front too much.” … Aceves threw 37 pitches. … Boston had lost its previous four series against New York since August 2011. … Ciriaco started at shortstop in place of Mike Aviles, who is battling a sore toe that is affecting him at the plate, according to Valentine. “I’m hoping only a day, but we’ll see how he feels (Monday),” Valentine said. … Boston opens a 10-game homestand Monday night against Detroit, with Clay Buchholz scheduled to face Max Scherzer. … Yankees RHP Joba Chamberlain (dislocated ankle) struck out three in 1 1-3 scoreless innings during his rehab outing for Double-A Trenton. He threw 23 of 30 pitches for strikes and earned the win in relief against Harrisburg. … Valentine also was ejected twice during his playing career and once as a coach. … Swisher had two hits in his return to New York’s lineup as the DH after missing seven straight starts with a strained left hip flexor. … Music man Paul Simon was in the sellout crowd of 48,526.