NEW YORK -- Shane Victorino's RBI single in the top of the 10th inning lifted the Boston Red Sox to a 9-8 victory over the New York Yankees on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.
The Red Sox won for the 12th time in 16 games on a night when they blew a five-run lead in the seventh, then rallied to tie the game in the ninth against Mariano Rivera.
In the 10th, Jacoby Ellsbury singled to right field, stole second and scored on Victorino's one-out single.
Victorino appeared to strike out on the previous pitch, but first base umpire Joe West ruled that he held up a swing on a 2-2 slider from Joba Chamberlain (2-1) much to the dismay of Yankees manager Joe Girardi. On the next pitch, Victorino slapped a fastball into right field, and Ellsbury just beat the throw from Ichiro Suzuki.
Chamberlain was ejected by West after gesturing and arguing about the check swing.
Before Victorino drove in his third run of the night, the Red Sox came back against Rivera in a sequence that resembled Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series, when Dave Roberts famously stole second off Rivera before scoring.
With two outs, Mike Napoli singled, and Quintin Berry entered as a pinch runner. Berry stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Austin Romine.
Berry easily scored when Stephen Drew lined an RBI single into right field off Rivera.
After Matt Thornton and Junichi Tazawa combined to blow a 7-2 lead in the seventh, Craig Breslow (5-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Koji Uehara struck out two in the 10th for his 18th save.
Lyle Overbay hit a two-run single in the seventh off Tazawa, which stood as the potential winning hit until Rivera blew a save chance for the sixth time this season. Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano and Curtis Granderson also drove in runs in the six-run inning.
Boston saw 48 pitches the first time through the lineup against Ivan Nova and opened the third with three straight hits, including a double by Ellsbury that knocked in the first run. After taking a 2-0 lead on Victorino's RBI groundout, the Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs, but Napoli struck out on a 2-2 curveball.
The Yankees had first and third with two outs in the third following singles by Suzuki and Gardner. After Gardner stole second without drawing a throw, Derek Jeter battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk and on the next pitch, Cano followed with a game-tying double off the top of the right field wall.
Boston regained the lead in the fourth when Will Middlebrooks crushed a 1-0 fastball into the second deck in left field for his 13th home run. After Jake Peavy stranded two in the fourth, the Red Sox scored three in the fifth on a solo home run Victorino, an RBI infield single by Napoli and a run-scoring groundout by Ryan Lavarnway.
Nova allowed three runs in four innings. Peavy gave up four runs in six-plus innings.
NOTES: RHP Clay Buchholz (neck strain) likely will rejoin Boston's rotation next week, but the Red Sox won't go to a six-man rotation. Buchholz made his third rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket in a playoff game at Rochester on Thursday, and he gave up two runs in 3 2/3 innings. ... Boston C Jarrod Saltalamacchia missed his third consecutive game with back soreness, but the Red Sox hope he will return at some point in the series. ... New York OF Zoilo Almonte (sprained left ankle) played seven innings in a rehab game for Double-A Trenton. ... Ortiz was intentionally walked for the first time in nine games.