Ninth-inning miscue spoils Yankees' comeback

Ninth-inning miscue spoils Yankees' comeback

Ninth-inning miscue spoils Yankees' comeback
NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson's first instinct was to break in from his shallow post in center field, believing that Pedro Ciriaco's drive had little power behind it. As Granderson twisted and turned to retreat, he quickly realized he was in trouble.

Granderson landed in a heap on the wet outfield grass as Ciriaco's ninth-inning ball found safe haven for a go-ahead triple, counting for the decisive blow as the Yankees were dealt a heartbreaking 8-6 defeat by the Red Sox on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

"You're going to make some mistakes out there," Granderson said. "That was one I didn't get the best read on. The great thing about this game is you get the opportunity to go back out there tomorrow."

Granderson's misplay came with one out and a runner on first, as Ciriaco knocked in Jacoby Ellsbury while facing losing pitcher Rafael Soriano. Dustin Pedroia added a sacrifice fly as insurance for Alfredo Aceves, who recorded the last three outs for his 22nd save.

"It just shows that's part of the game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Sometimes players are going to have the wrong reads on balls. It's going to happen over the course of the season, and it won't be the last one, I'm sure. It's unfortunate that it happened at that time."

The crushing emotional swing came after Mark Teixeira had tied the game an inning earlier with a long two-run homer off Vicente Padilla, dropping his bat and trotting to admire the blast -- atypical behavior for Teixeira and just the latest chapter in the tense history between the former teammates.

"It felt good. I just wanted to make sure it was fair," Teixeira said, offering tongue-in-cheek analysis. "The ball's been hooking a lot tonight. Curtis hit a few that hooked. I didn't want to waste a lot of energy running out of the box, and if that ball goes foul, it's been a long day. But it felt good."

Padilla entered to protect a two-run lead in the eighth and permitted a pinch-hit single to Raul Ibanez, then struck out the next two batters -- including Granderson, who was just a few ticks away from playing the hero instead of the goat.

Not once but twice, Granderson threatened to launch the game-tying homer in the eighth off Padilla, only to watch both drives hook foul down the right-field line.

"I thought both of them had a shot, but right away, it was just a matter of if it was going to stay fair or not," Granderson said. "It didn't get a chance to do that."

Teixeira made the most of his opportunity. After staring at a 51-mph eephus pitch down the middle for strike one, he then swatted Padilla's 96-mph fastball over the wall in right-center field -- which is still situated nowhere near the foul pole, by the way.

"I'm just trying to tie the game up there. That's the biggest thing," Teixeira said. "It'd been a hard-fought game, and when you have a chance to tie it with one swing late in the game, you just don't want to miss your pitch."

Earlier this month at Fenway, Teixeira spoke openly of his disdain for Padilla's reputation for throwing at opposing hitters. Padilla responded with a barrage of insults and accusations about Teixeira, with whom he shared a clubhouse on the Rangers.

"There's some bad blood," Girardi said. "He's hit him a bunch of times. Tex hit a big home run for us at the time, but you move on to the next day. I don't get caught up in that."

Teixeira's homer took CC Sabathia off the hook for a decision after the left-hander continued his recent history of troubles with the Red Sox's lineup, slammed for six runs and eight hits over six underwhelming innings.

"It's tough, not being able to go out and pitch the way you want, especially against a team in your division," Sabathia said. "We won the first game last night and I wanted to come out and have a good performance, but it didn't happen tonight."

Sabathia served up three first-inning runs, plus a fifth-inning Adrian Gonzalez homer that opened up a five-run Boston advantage at the time.

The Red Sox came out swinging following a rain delay of two hours and four minutes, as Sabathia allowed three straight one-out hits, including Gonzalez's RBI double to right field. Will Middlebrooks cashed in two more runs with a loud double to left-center.

In the fifth, Sabathia had two outs and none on before the inning unraveled. Ciriaco singled and stole second, and Sabathia lost Dustin Pedroia to a full-count walk before Gonzalez put his 10th homer of the season in the right-field seats for three runs.

"I think they are just being patient," Sabathia said. "They're fouling off some good pitches. It's just a case of me not making good pitches and them having good at-bats."

The Yankees notched four runs in six innings off Jon Lester, including a three-run fifth that featured Jayson Nix's two-run homer. Chris Stewart also homered off Lester, clearing the wall in the third inning for a solo shot.

"Jon had what we needed," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "That's what we were looking for."

New York's loudest homer was, of course, Teixeira's -- and it hurt the Yankees most that they couldn't power a victory on what could have been a memorable evening.

"The place felt like it was shaking," Teixeira said. "I was just happy to do that for the fans to hopefully help us win a game. It didn't work out that way, but at the time it was a big hit."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.