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Monday, July 22, 2013

Red Sox Beat Yankees 8-7 In 11 Innings On Mike Napoli's 2nd Home Run of the Game

It took a combined 405 pitches (203 for New York and 202 for Boston) and four hours and 46 minutes but the Red Sox didn't mind at all since Mike Napoli sent Fenway Park home happy with a walk-off solo homer in the 11th off Adam Warren (1-1) for an 8-7 Red Sox (60-40 overall, 33-17 home) win over Yankees (52-46 overall, 24-23 away). Boston improved to 6-4 in extra innings this season and they won their ninth contest in walk-off fashion (tied for 2011 for the most since 2006).

The Red Sox took two of three from the Yankees this weekend to take a healthy seven-game lead over them and tonight it was about their offense coming through just enough to overcome three errors and an early 3-0 lead by the Yankees in the second inning plus a 7-3 led for the Red Sox that they blew. Boston knew that Tampa Bay and Baltimore-their main competitors in the AL East this season-had already won by the time this ended right before 1 a.m. EST so they had to win to keep the Rays 1.5 games behind and the Orioles 3.5 in back of Boston. The Red Sox still have the most wins in MLB although they've played four more games than the Cardinals (59 wins).

With Jon Lester's start getting pushed back a few extra days, Ryan Dempster got the ball and predictably pitched mediocre (5.1 innings, 5 runs, 3 earned runs, 6 hits, 4 strikeouts, 4 walks) but that's more than you can say for CC Sabathia. The former Yankees ace is a shell of himself for whatever reason: 5 innings, 7 earned runs, 9 hits, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks.

Brett Gardner (3 for 4 with run, RBI, 2 walks, stolen base) scored New York's first run on a throwing error by Boston. The Yankees tacked on another run thanks to Vernon Wells' RBI single and Robinson Cano's (3 for 5 with two RBIs and walk) RBI single in the second inning.

Boston got on the board in the third on Dustin Pedroia's RBI single then Napoli put them ahead with a three-run homer over the Monster (his 12th of the season). Shane Victorino's (2 hits, 2 stolen bases) high chopper to left field scored two runs in the fourth and Jonny Gomes cranked a solo homer over the Monster in the fifth (his 8th of the season) for a 7-3 Red Sox advantage. Jacoby Ellsbury was 2 for 4 with a double, run, walk and stolen base in the win.

Gardner and Cano chipped into the lead with a pair of RBI singles in the sixth while Chris Stewart's RBI single cut it to 7-6 and a run scored on a groundout. Eduardo Nunez was 3 for 4 with two runs and a stolen base.

Some of the more obscure members of the Red Sox bullpen saved them in this game: Matt Thornton pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with two strikeouts, Koji Uehara had a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts, rookie Drake Britton appeared for the second straight day and got a scoreless 10th before Pedro Beato (1-0) held serve for the home team in the 11th.

Tampa Bay (58-41 overall, 2nd in AL East) is the hottest team in MLB: a scorching 17-2 in their last 19 games and they come to Fenway for a pivotal four-game series beginning tomorrow night (7:10, NESN) with rookie Brandon Workman (0-0) facing Matt Moore (13-3). Lester (8-6) takes on Roberto Hernandez (5-10) on Tuesday (7:10, NESN), Felix Doubront (7-3) meets David Price (4-5) on Wednesday (7:10, NESN) and John Lackey (7-7) opposes Jeremy Hellickson (9-3) on Thursday (7:10, NESN).

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