Down nine early, gutsy Yanks stun Boston
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com | 4/21/2012 10:15 PM ET
NYY@BOS: Swisher's two-run double gives Yanks lead
BOSTON -- It may be true, as the Red Sox claim, that Fenway Park is America's most beloved ballpark. But that sharp marketing tagline should include an important addendum: "Where no lead is ever safe."
The Yankees proved that to be true on Saturday, scoring 15 unanswered runs after the fifth inning to charge back from a nine-run deficit, stunning the inhabitants of the century-old facility with a 15-9 victory over the Red Sox.
"To be able to come back and pull that win off, that's a big win for us," said Nick Swisher, who drilled the go-ahead double for New York in the eighth inning. "That's a huge momentum shift for us. This team, we never give up."
Swisher also hit a grand slam and Mark Teixeira homered twice, as each switch-hitting slugger collected six RBIs to help the Yankees tie a franchise record -- set five times previously -- for the largest deficit overcome in a victory.
New York bombed the hapless Boston bullpen for a pair of seven-run innings, sending 11 men to the plate in the seventh and 12 men up for the eighth.
The Yankees had scored seven or more runs in back-to-back innings only once previously -- also at Fenway Park, on June 19, 2000, in a more lopsided 22-1 victory.
"When you're down, 9-0, after five innings, I know we have a great offense, but you don't see a comeback at any level very often in professional baseball," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think it just shows you the type of lineup that we have."
By the time the carnage was complete, Freddy Garcia's ineffective five-out start for the Yankees -- as well as Felix Doubront's six good frames for Boston -- had long been relegated to a forgettable footnote.
Swisher's first grand slam in a Yankees uniform, and the fifth of his career, came off Vicente Padilla in the seventh and pulled the Yankees within four runs. Before the inning was over, Teixeira had tacked on a three-run blast facing Matt Albers to make it a one-run game.
"We've got guys that don't give away at-bats," Teixeira said. "We take every at-bat seriously, whether it's the first inning or the seventh inning, up nine or down nine. We don't want to just give away at-bats and go through the motions. Tonight, we just got on a little roll. That was a lot of fun."
Going deep from both sides of the plate, Teixeira also accounted for New York's first run of the game, hitting a solo shot off Doubront that seemed meaningless when it scraped the top of the Green Monster in the sixth.
"Some games, you get blown out," Teixeira said. "When you play 162 games a year, you're going to get blown out sometimes. But we still said, 'Hey, let's stay in it. We've got a few innings left. You never know.'"
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine turned in desperation to Alfredo Aceves in the eighth, asking six outs of the former Bombers righty. Aceves faced six batters and retired none, surrendering Swisher's go-ahead two-run double to deep center field.
"It all happened pretty quickly, and it's all kind of confusing right now," Valentine said.
Teixeira added more breathing room for the Yankees in the eighth, rapping a two-run ground-rule double down the right-field line. Russell Martin also belted a two-run double as part of the Yankees' outburst.
"A team like that, you can't leave pitches over the middle," Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "You can't make any mistakes, really."
Early, Boston looked very comfortable with the 48 pitches it saw from Garcia's right hand, as Girardi said Garcia lacked his normal velocity and was up in the zone.
Three first-inning doubles, including a David Ortiz grounder that hugged the left-field line, led to a run. Boston added three more in the second inning with Mike Aviles, Ryan Sweeney and Dustin Pedroia knocking in runs.
"Every pitch I was throwing, they hit," Garcia said. "I threw a couple of good pitches in the first inning, and they hit it."
Facing David Phelps in the fifth inning, Cody Ross slugged a two-run homer off the center-field camera stand, and Aviles also drove in two runs for the Red Sox, who had hoped to avenge the spoiling of Fenway Park's 100th anniversary celebration one day prior.
Rafael Soriano logged the victory by pitching a scoreless seventh inning, and New York's bullpen was the unsung hero after Garcia's early exit. Clay Rapada allowed a run, but Phelps kept the Yanks in the game by holding Boston to three runs in four innings.
"It says a lot," Girardi said. "We've had some tough games this season. There's no doubt about it -- a lot of one-run games and some extra-inning games. Our offense just keeps coming at you."
By the ninth, the aisles were packed with dazed Red Sox fans headed out to Yawkey Way, while a few vocal pockets of Yankees fans stayed to revel in the faith they showed in the ballpark's ability to assist in wild rivalry finishes just like Saturday's.
"It makes it a little more fun, there's no doubt," Teixeira said. "If you come back from nine runs against anybody, it's a cool thing. But to do it here in Boston, it makes it a little more fun."