NEW YORK -- Just when it seemed that the Red Sox were about to blow another huge lead and lose a game to the Yankees they had no business losing, they snapped to life -- with some help from the home team.
Curtis Granderson misplayed a fly ball from Pedro Ciriaco into a run-scoring triple and Dustin Pedroia added a sacrifice fly as the Sox rallied and beat the New York Yankees, 8-6.
The Sox built a 6-1 lead through 4 12 innings with four RBI from Adrian Gonzalez (three-run homer and RBI double) and Will Middlebrooks adding a two-run double.
But the Yankees chipped away with a three-run fourth against Jon Lester and Mark Teixeira got the best of nemesis Vicente Padilla with a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.
Lester, who had the worst start of his major league career in his previous outing, showed improvement, though he allowed four runs in four hits in six innings. But Padilla's misstep cost him his first win in more than a month.
Padilla nonetheless got the win when the Sox rallied in the ninth and Alfredo Aceves picked up his 22nd save.
The Sox beat up CC Sabathia, who was done after six, having allowed six runs.
The win was only the second for the Sox in their last eight games and was just the second this season against the Yankees in eight tries.
Blake Swihart wasn't going to win a job. Monday merely made that official.
Swihart was optioned out as the Red Sox made further cuts, sending a player who could still be the Red Sox catcher of the future -- well, one of them anyway -- to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's expected to work on his receiving.
Swihart hit .325 in 40 Grapefruit League at-bats.
"Had a very strong camp and showed improvements defensively. Swung the bat very well," manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida. "For the player that he is and the person that he is, you love him as a person. He's a hell of a talented player.
"He made some subtle adjustments with his setup [defensively]. That gave him a different look to pitchers on the mound. Pitchers talked positively about the look that they got from him behind the plate. I think it softened his hands somewhat to receive the ball better. And there were a number of occasions where he was able to get a pitchers' pitch called for a strike, so the presentation of the umpire was a little bit more subtle and consistent then maybe years' past."
Sandy Leon's hot hitting in 2016 earned him an automatic crack at the lead catching spot for this year. Combined with the fact that Christian Vazquez looks great defensively, went deep on Sunday and is out of options, Swihart was the obvious odd man out.
He had options, the others didn't.
Deven Marrero was also optioned to Pawtucket. Sam Travis -- who, like Swihart, could break camp with the 2018 team -- was reassigned to minor-league camp, as was catcher Dan Butler.
The Sox have 38 players left in camp, 32 from the 40-man roster.
Righty Tyler Thornburg seems a guarantee to join David Price on the disabled list to start the season.
Thornburg, the biggest acquisition Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made for the bullpen this winter, was scratched Monday because of a spasm in his upper right trapezius — not a great sign for a pitcher who already had throwing shoulder issues this spring.
Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida the spasm was “not shoulder related.” But the trap, a large muscle along the neck and back, does extend to the shoulder blade.
Dombrowski told reporters it is most likely that Thornburg starts the year on the disabled list. More is expected to be known Tuesday, possibly after an MRI.
Robby Scott could be a replacement for Thornburg. If so, the Sox would likely have three lefties in the bullpen, along with Fernando Abad and Robbie Ross Jr.
"Possibly. Possibly," Dombrowski said of Scott. “We still have to make those decisions. But possibly.”
Dombrowski didn’t indicate a desire to go outside the organization for now.
Thornburg had barely enough time to get ready for Opening Day prior to Monday’s setback. If he indeed starts the season on the DL, Joe Kelly would be the eighth-inning reliever for the Sox — a role Kelly was headed for anyway given Thornburg’s shaky spring.
Thornburg, 28, had a 2.15 ERA last season for the Brewers. The Sox picked him up at the winter meetings in a deal that sent Travis Shaw and prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers.