Curtis Granderson wasn't about to feel sorry for himself, even after essentially costing the Yankees a shot at pulling off a stunning comeback victory.
They had erased a five-run deficit and were riding the emotion of Mark Teixeira's tying two-out, two-run homer off nemesis Vicente Padilla in the bottom of the eighth. When Teixeira's shot sailed into the stands in rightfield, the sellout crowd of 49,573 made the Stadium "feel like it was shaking," he said.
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So imagine the emotional reversal when Granderson badly misplayed a drive by Pedro Ciriaco in the top of the ninth, setting up the Red Sox for an 8-6 win in a game delayed 2 hours, 4 minutes at the start because of rain.
"We haven't seen much of that, him getting turned around like that," Joe Girardi said. "Sometimes players are going to have the wrong reads on balls. It's going to happen during the course of the season and it won't be the last one, I'm sure. It's unfortunate, though, that it happened at that time."
Granderson's gaffe came with one out and Jacoby Ellsbury on first. Ciriaco lined Rafael Soriano's 1-and-2 pitch to center and Granderson went back awkwardly, turning toward left-center before trying to change direction and turn toward right-center. He fell to the ground as the ball landed just behind him for what was scored an RBI triple, handing Boston a 7-6 lead. Dustin Pedroia then hit a sacrifice fly.
"I broke in for it first and I didn't think it was hit as hard as it was," Granderson said. "By the time I tried to go back on it, I couldn't get enough steam to get it going and get back to it. That's part of it. You are going to make some mistakes out there, and that was one I didn't get the best read on. The great thing about this game is we get an opportunity to go back out there tomorrow."
Teixeira's blast had capped a comeback from a 6-1 deficit. He uncharacteristically admired it on the way to first base because it came against someone he's not all that fond of. "I just wanted to make sure it was fair," he said, although there didn't seem to be much doubt about that. "The balls had been hooking a lot tonight. Curtis hit a few that hooked, so I didn't want to waste a lot of energy coming out of the box if that ball goes foul. It's been a long day. But it felt good."
Told it would've defied the logic of physics if his ball had managed to curve more than 100 feet to the right, he said with a straight face: "I've seen it happen before. We were here at noon today. It was a long day. I didn't feel like sprinting out of the box if it was going to be foul."
Teixeira, whose homer was his 20th and the club's 159th in 100 games -- a franchise record for that span -- had a key two-run triple off Padilla on July 6 in the Yankees' 10-8 win in Boston.
This time he hit a 96-mph fastball after taking a looping 51-mph curveball for a strike. As he walked toward first, he raised his right arm and gave a little fist pump as his shot landed in the stands. But he insisted it wasn't because of his history with Padilla. "I think the last at-bat in Boston, it was different," he said. "Just another at-bat. I've got Robbie Cano behind me. He's not going to want to mess around there, so it was just try to get a good pitch to hit and do damage."
Despite their sixth loss in the last nine games, if the Yankees can win Sunday night's rubber match, they would move 111/2 games ahead of Boston. "We're in a really good spot right now," Teixeira said. "We're playing some really good baseball and it's not like it's the last day of the season and we are going home. The best thing about baseball is we get to come back tomorrow. We get a chance to win a series and put more distance between ourselves and the Red Sox."