NEW YORK – Boston had wasted a five-run lead by the time Pedro Ciriaco stepped to the plate in the ninth inning Saturday night and hit a hard fly ball toward center field.
He thought Curtis Granderson would catch it.
Then Granderson came in on the ball before sprinting back in an attempt to catch up.
“I thought I had a chance,” Ciriaco said, “so I run like a hurricane.”
The ball landed for a go-ahead triple as Granderson fell, and the Red Sox came away with a dramatic 8-6 victory against the New York Yankees after Vicente Padilla allowed a tying, two-run homer in the eighth to his nemesis, Mark Teixeira.
Adrian Gonzalez had four RBI for the Red Sox, who built a 6-1 lead for Jon Lester.
“We were good tonight and we were lucky,” Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine said. “(Ciriaco) hit that ball, a knuckleball, 380 feet. It’s tough to catch.
“He’s pretty hot right now, so I’d say he was good and we were lucky.”
Granderson had expected to make the catch.
“I didn’t think it was hit as hard as it was,” he said. “And by the time I tried to get back on it, I couldn’t get enough steam to get back to it.”
Jacoby Ellsbury’s one-out walk off Rafael Soriano (2-1) preceded the hit by Ciriaco, who boosted the lead to two runs when he scored on Dustin Pedroia’s sacrifice fly.
Playing designated hitter while David Ortiz is on the disabled list, Ciriaco had three hits to raise his average to .356 in 59 at-bats. He also had the go-ahead hit in Boston’s only other win over the Yankees in eight tries this year, a two-run double off Phil Hughes in the second game of a July 7 doubleheader at Fenway Park.
“He just comes in and plays, has good at-bats, runs the bases well,” Valentine said. “Makes us a better team.”
It was Granderson’s second fielding flub against the Red Sox. In that July 7 game, the Yankees were ahead 3-1 when Granderson called for Daniel Nava’s fly ball and allowed it to bounce off his glove as right fielder Darnell McDonald moved past him. Granderson initially was charged with an error, but the official scorer later changed it to McDonald’s.
“We haven’t seen much of that, him getting turned around like that,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “But it just shows that it’s part of the game and sometimes players are going to have the wrong read on balls. It’s going to happen in the course of the season and it won’t be the last one, I’m sure.”
Andrew Miller (3-1) got one out for the win, and Alfredo Aceves finished for his 22nd save.
New York started to erase its early deficit in the fifth, when Jayson Nix hit a two-run homer and Derek Jeter had an RBI grounder. The came another matchup of Padilla and Teixeira, who have been jawing at each other from a distance.
Padilla allowed a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez in the eighth, then threw a called third strike past Jeter. Granderson hit two foul drives deep to right before striking out.
Padilla fell behind 2-0 in the count to Teixeira, then lobbed in a 51 mph curveball for a called strike. Teixeira turned on the next pitch, sending it deep into the right-field bleachers. He stared at the ball as he took four short steps up the line, then went into his home run trot.
Padilla wouldn’t discuss anything with the media. As reporters approached him, he said: “About what? One bad day?” turned and walked out.
Teixeira hit a go-ahead, two-run triple off Padilla in the seventh inning at Fenway Park on July 6, sparking a weekend war of words. Padilla accused Teixeira of wronging Latino teammates when they played together on the Texas Rangers in 2006-07, and Teixeira said Padilla threw at hitters and “didn’t have a lot of friends in the game.” Padilla responded Teixeira would “be better off playing a women’s sport.”