Closing Time: Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino key another memorable win for Red Sox

Rob Bradford
September 06, 2013 - 7:10 pm
Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli supplied the latest round of heroics for the Red Sox, Friday night. Victorino keyed yet another Sox comeback with a two-run homer in the eighth inning, helping hand the Sox a 12-8 win over the Yankees in a game the Sox trailed by five runs entering the seventh. It lowered the Red Sox' Magic Number for a playoff spot to 11, handing them their 86th victory. The Victorino tie-breaking homer -- which plated Will Middlebrooks and cleared the left-field wall -- handed the leadoff hitter (he was subbing in for the injured Jacoby Ellsbury) his sixth homer in the last 12 games. Prior to Victorino's homer, helping punctuate the comeback for the Red Sox was Napoli, whose third grand slam of the season knotted the game at 8-8 with two outs in the seventh inning. The opposite field blast, which came off lefty reliever Boone Logan, landed just out of the reach of right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, clanging off the top of the fence and into the bleachers. The only other player in Red Sox history to claim more grand slams in a single season than Napoli was Babe Ruth, who totaled four in 1919. The Sox also now are tied with the Mariners for the most grand slams (6) in the majors. Three of the runs in the pivotal seventh were charged to Yankees reliever Phil Hughes, who allowed three singles and a walk before giving way to Logan. The southpaw did manage to strikeout David Ortiz, but ended up serving up the homer to Napoli on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. The win continues an impressive stretch for the Red Sox in which John Farrell's club has now scored 41 runs over the last three games. The previous best offensive output over a three-game stretch for the Sox this season was 31 runs. The comeback made up for one of the rougher outings in some time for starter Felix Doubront, who allowed six runs on six walks and three hits in just 3 2/3 innings. Here is what went right (and wrong) for the Red Sox: WHAT WENT RIGHT - Napoli reached base in each of his five plate appearances, coming away with three hits and two walks. Since Aug. 31, the first baseman is hitting .526 (1o-for-19) with six walks. - Stephen Drew, who has totaled the most RBI of any shortstop in baseball since Aug. 1 (20), added to his total with a run-scoring ground out in the fourth inning. The ground out to first base plated Mike Napoli, who doubled to lead off the inning. He then came away with No. 21 with a run-scoring single in the eighth. - Middlebrooks continued his power surge of late, going deep to lead off the fifth inning. It was the third baseman's third home run in Sept., tying San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval for most of any third baseman this month. - Daniel Nava helped add to the Red Sox' late-inning cushion by drawing a bases-loaded walk. - Koji Uehara completed yet another perfect inning, making it 27 straight frames without allowing a run. This time the closer picked two more strikeouts in his 1-2-3 inning. WHAT WENT WRONG - Doubront ran into trouble out of the gate, giving up a two-run home run to Alfonso Soriano in the first inning before giving up two more runs in the second on an Eduardo Nunez RBI triple and Chris Stewart sacrifice fly. Not helping matters for the lefty was the fact he walked four in the initial two frames, only the second time he had done that this season. - The hit that drove Doubront from the game came off the bat of Brett Gardner, whose two-out triple in ht fourth scored both Mark Reynolds and Stewart to give the Yankees a four-run lead. The Sox starter had retired his first two batters of the frame before issuing a pair of walks. The six free passes for the lefty was the most he had issued up to four innings of work this season, and his most for a game since May 16. - For just the second time this season, the opposing pitcher struck out the side in the Red Sox half of the first inning. In this case, the victims were Victorino, Jonny Gomes and Ortiz against New York starter Andy Pettitte, who did allow a single to Dustin Pedroia in the inning. - Reliever Rubby De La Rosa, who came on for Doubront, continued to struggle. The righty allowed a Vernon Wells' RBI single in the fifth, and then a run-scoring to Reynolds later in the inning. It marked the third time in De La Rosa's last four outings he has allowed multiple hits before finishing more than one inning.