BOSTON – Jarrod Saltalamacchia continues to make a case for the Red Sox to bring back the soon-to-be free agent.
On Friday night his seventh-inning grand slam broke open a tie game, giving the Sox an 8-4 win over the Yankees at Fenway Park. It was his 13th home run of the season, and third career grand slam, the first since May 5, 2009.
Shane Victorino led off the seventh with a single to left, ending the night for Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, who took the loss. Left-hander Cesar Cabral entered, hitting David Ortiz, the only batter he faced, with a pitch. Claiborne walked pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes to load the bases before striking out Daniel Nava. But Saltalamacchia blasted his slam into the bleacher seats behind the Sox bullpen, giving the Sox an 8-4 lead.
The Sox jumped out to a four-run lead in the first when they sent eight batters to the plate. Dustin Pedroia, again in the lead-off spot, opened with a single to left, taking third on David Ortiz’s one-out double. Mike Carp’s groundout scored Pedroia and Daniel Nava’s single to left scored Ortiz. After Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked, Stephen Drew’s two-out double scored two runs, giving the Sox a 4-0 lead.
The Yankees got a run back on Brendan Ryan’s lead-off home run in the third off Red Sox starter John Lackey. They added another in the sixth when Robinson Cano hit a one-out double taking third on Alfonso Soriano’s single and scoring on Lyle Overbay’s sacrifice fly.
The Yankees tied the game in the top of the seventh. Brendan Ryan and Chris Stewart reached on consecutive one-out singles, ending Lackey’s outing. Left-hander Craig Breslow entered and struck out Curtis Granderson before walked Alex Rodriguez and giving up a two-run double to Cano to tie the game. Brandon Workman replaced Breslow, getting the final out of the inning. That allowed Workman to earn the win, improving to 6-3.
Lackey took a no-decision, going 6 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits with no walks, three strikeouts, and a home run. He threw 82 pitches, 59 for strikes as his ERA rose from 3.48 to 3.56.
Kuroda went six innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He falls to 11-11 with a 3.13 ERA.
Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth, and has now retired 37 consecutive batters.
AT A GLANCE
STAR OF THE GAME: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Saltalamacchia went 2-for-3 with a double and a seventh-inning grand slam that broke a 4-4 tie. His four RBI tied a season-high for the second time. It was his third career grand slam, and first since May 5, 2009, while with the Rangers at Seattle. He is the first Sox catcher to hit a grand slam since Victor Martinez on Oct. 3, 2009, against the Indians. Saltalamacchia’s 36 doubles are three shy of the team single-season record by a catcher. Carlton Fisk had 39 in 1978, and Jason Varitek had 39 in 1999.
HONORABLE MENTION: Robinson Cano
Cano went 4-for-4 with three doubles, a run scored, and two RBI. His two-run double in the seventh tied the game.
THE GOAT: Preston Claiborne
Claiborne entered in a difficult situation, with the game tied, no outs and runners on first and second. After walking Jonny Gomes, the first batter he faced, he struck out Daniel Nava. But, he then gave up a grand slam to Saltalamacchia to lock up the Sox win.
THE TURNING POINT
The Yankees had just tied the game, and had two runners on base with two outs in the top of the seventh. But Brandon Workman got Alfonso Soriano to ground out, ending the rally. In the bottom of the inning, three Yankees pitchers – Kuroda, Cabral, and Claiborne – allowed the first three Red Sox batters to reach base, setting the stage for Saltalamacchia’s grand slam.
BY THE NUMBERS
Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s seventh-inning grand slam was the Sox’ eighth of the season. The Sox entered the day as the major league leader in grand slams this season. This is the eighth time in team history the Sox have hit at least eighth grand slams in a season, and the first since a team-record 11 slams were hit in 2005. They have two go-ahead grand slams in their last three games.
QUOTE OF NOTE
“I was DH’ing the last two months of last season. That’s not what I am and that’s not what I’m used to. When I catch I’m a better hitter and a better contributor to the team. So I think being able to catch and staying loose and involved in games helped me.” – Jarrod Saltalamacchia, on the reasons for his late-season success this year.