It was a strange night for Mike Napoli who struck out three times, hit into a double play, left seven runners on base and hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning, but that wasn't even the biggest story as he belted a two-out, walk-off home run on a 2-2 pitch to dead center field in the eleventh inning as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 8-7 Sunday night at Fenway Park in a game lasting just under five hours.
"He gets a 2-2 fastball over the plate and fortunately he walks us off," manager John Farrell said. "I guess that is a snap shot of is career path. You know, and certainly live with some swing and miss, but his ability to drive the ball to all fields is present every time he steps into the batters box."
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Trailing 3-0, the Red Sox scored four times in the third inning to take a 4-3 lead, capped by a mammoth, three-run, home run over the Monster from Napoli, scoring Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. They added two more in the fifth inning on a two-run single from Shane Victorino and another in the sixth on a solo home run off the bat of Jonny Gomes. The Yankees would not down without a fight as they came back to score two runs in each the sixth and seventh inning off relievers Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa to tie the game at seven.
Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster settled down after allowing three runs over the first two innings and throwing 50 pitches. He finished going 5 1/3 innings allowing five runs on six hits, but walked four. He didn't have his best stuff, but was able to pitch through it keeping the Sox in the game. Following Tazawa, Matt Thornton Koji Uehara, Drake Britton and Pedro Beato (win) each pitched scoreless innings in relief.
The Red Sox will now begin a critical four-game series with the red-hot Rays beginning Monday night (7:10, NESN) where Brandon Workman will make his Fenway debut and take on Matt Moore.
What they'll be saying: This was your typical Red Sox-Yankees game lasting over four hours, but with plenty of drama, none bigger than Napoli's walk-off home run. It was the ninth time the Red Sox have walked-off this season, which leads all of major league baseball ... A lot of credit should go to the Red Sox' young relievers in Britton and Beato who came on in tough, high-pressure situations and were able to perform very well. Also to Thornton who rebounded nicely after a poor outing on Saturday ... Despite the win it wasn't all positives as the team committed three errors as well as going 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position.