NEW YORK -- Mike Napoli
saw his ball go off the end of his bat and head toward right field. He also saw Ichiro Suzuki
move back and attempt to make a play on it.
Once Napoli saw that Ichiro could not make the play and that ball went off the top of the wall, he pumped his fist as he rounded first base and celebrated his third grand slam of the season. That blow eventually sparked the Boston Red Sox to a stunning 12-8 victory over the New York Yankees
on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.
"I barreled it," Napoli said. "I hit it high. So, at first, yeah, then I saw Ichiro timing his jump. He kind of made me nervous, but I just got enough."
The Red Sox pulled off the comeback with a five-run seventh and then took the lead on Shane Victorino
's two-run homer with one out in the eighth. But it was Napoli's impressive two-strike hitting that made the biggest impact.
"It's pretty shallow to right field," Napoli said. "I've been able to drive balls to right field throughout my career, so it's definitely comfortable hitting here, knowing that I can hit something in the air in general and it will go out."
Napoli's second two-strike grand slam at Yankee Stadium helped the Red Sox rally from an 8-3 deficit through six innings. The Red Sox saw 100 pitches from New York starter Andy Pettitte
and forced the Yankees to turn to their bullpen with Shawn Kelley
(triceps), David Robertson
(shoulder tendinitis) and Mariano Rivera (three straight days pitched) unavailable.
Instead of facing New York's most effective arms, the Red Sox first faced Phil Hughes in his first appearance since being bumped from the rotation. Boston inched within 8-4 on a bases-loaded infield single by Dustin Pedroia.
Left-hander Boone Logan
struck out David Ortiz on a full-count slider that grazed the outside corner. Ortiz briefly objected to the call by plate umpire Joe West, but eight pitches later, he was celebrating with the rest of his teammates when Napoli hit a 2-2 fastball off the top of the wall in right field for his sixth career grand slam.
The home run gave Napoli the most grand slams by any Red Sox since Babe Ruth set the franchise record with four during the 1919 season.
"That's pretty cool," Napoli said. "I get in the situation (that),guys seem to be on base all the time when I'm up. I've had a lot of opportunities with the bases loaded this year. I'm just trying to drive the ball somewhere and good things can happen."
It highlighted a 3-for-3 night for Napoli, who also drew two walks and has been on base in eight straight appearances while compiling 15 RBIs against the Yankees this season.
"He's come up many times with the bases loaded and I think three grand slams, particularly in this ballpark," Boston manager John Farrell said. "He's such a good opposite-field hitter. This ballpark plays smaller in itself and with his power he can make it that much smaller."
The grand slam wasn't the only bad news for the Yankees, who entered 2 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay for the second wild card spot in the American League. Afterward, the team said Logan felt some tightness in his elbow that was labeled a "biceps issue."
Logan acknowledged that he was thinking about the elbow during the sequence to Napoli.
"My mind definitely got on the elbow after it happened, because it was on one pitch that I felt something, some tightness tightening up on the back of my elbow," Logan said. "It did affect it a little bit."
Boston did not go ahead at that point, though. That came when Victorino sent a 1-2 slider from rookie Preston Claiborne (0-2) over the left-field wall for his second go-ahead hit in as many nights as he continued his power surge while hitting strictly from the right side of the plate.
"Shane does a lot of things we don't imagine," Farrell said of Victorino. Joba Chamberlain
then replaced Claiborne. Chamberlain gave up a bases-loaded walk to Daniel Nava and an RBI base hit to Stephen Drew to cap the scoring.
Rookie Brandon Workman (5-2) got four outs for the win and was relieved by Franklin Morales
in the eighth with a runner on first. Morales issued a walk to Chris Stewart and threw a wild pitch but, with runners on second and third, he fanned Brett Gardner.
Koji Uehara finished in a non-save situation, ending the four-hour marathon with strikeouts of Alfonso Soriano and Robinson Cano.
Before the Yankees lost for the sixth time in 60 games when leading through six innings, Soriano hit a two-run homer, Eduardo Nunez and Gardner combined for three RBIs, and Pettitte allowed three runs and five hits in six innings.
NOTES: Boston RHP Clay Buchholz (neck strain) will take the next step toward returning to the rotation by throwing a bullpen session on Sunday. Buchholz made his third rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday and the Red Sox said the reports were positive. ... OF Jacoby Ellsbury reinjured his foot on his 10th-inning stolen base on Thursday and is day to day. ... Kelley (triceps) threw a bullpen session before the game but is not expected back until sometime next week. ... The Yankees added RHP Matt Daley to their active roster. ... Derek Jeter
made his fourth start as a designated hitter for the Yankees.
- Sports & Recreation
- Red Sox
- Mike Napoli
- New York Yankees
- Ichiro Suzuki
- Shane Victorino