Boston had wasted a five-run lead by the time Pedro Ciriaco stepped to the plate in the ninth inning Saturday night and hit a hard fly ball toward center field. He thought Curtis Granderson would catch it.
Then Granderson went in on the ball and sprinted back in an attempt to catch up.
"I thought I had a chance," Ciriaco said, "so I run like a hurricane."
The ball landed for a go-ahead triple as Granderson fell, and the Red Sox came away with a dramatic 8-6 win over the New York Yankees after Vicente Padilla allowed a tying, two-run homer in the eighth to nemesis Mark Teixeira.
Adrian Gonzalez had four RBIs for the Red Sox, who built a 6-1 lead for Jon Lester.
"We were good tonight, and we were lucky," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "He hit that ball, a knuckleball, 380 feet. It's tough to catch. He's pretty hot right now, so I'd say he was good and we were lucky."
A three-time All-Star, Granderson had expected to make the catch.
"I didn't think it was hit as hard as it was," he said. "And, by the time I tried to get back on it, I couldn't get enough steam to get back to it."
Jacoby Ellsbury's one-out walk off Rafael Soriano (2-1) preceded the hit by Ciriaco, who boosted the lead to two runs when he scored on Dustin Pedroia's sacrifice fly.
Playing designated hitter while David Ortiz is on the disabled list, the 26-year-old Ciriaco had three hits to raise his average to .356 in 59 at-bats. He also had the go-ahead hit in Boston's only other win over the Yankees in eight tries this year, a two-run double off Phil Hughes in the second game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park on July 7.
"He just comes in and plays, has good at-bats, runs the bases well," Valentine said. "Makes us a better team."
It was Granderson's second fielding flub against the Red Sox. In that July 7 game, the Yankees were ahead 3-1 when Granderson called for Daniel Nava's fly ball and allowed it to bounce off his glove as right fielder Darnell McDonald moved past him. Granderson initially was charged with an error, but the official scorer later changed it to McDonald's.
"We haven't seen much of that, him getting turned around like that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But it just shows that it's part of the game and sometimes players are going to have the wrong read on balls. It's going to happen in the course of the season, and it won't be the last one, I'm sure."
Andrew Miller (3-1) got one out for the win, and Alfredo Aceves finished for his 22nd save in 26 chances.
New York started to erase its early deficit in the fifth, when Jayson Nix hit a two-run homer and Derek Jeter had an RBI grounder. Then came another matchup of Padilla and Teixeira, who have been jawing at each other from a distance.
Padilla allowed a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez in the eighth, then threw a called third strike past Jeter. Granderson hit two foul drives deep down the right-field line, the second missing a home run by about a foot, before striking out.
Padilla fell behind 2-0 in the count to Teixeira, then lobbed in a 51 mph curveball for a called strike. Teixeira turned on the next pitch, sending it deep into the right-field bleachers. He stared at the ball as he took four short steps up the line, then went into his home run trot.
Padilla wouldn't discuss anything with media. As reporters approached him in the locker room, he said: "About what? One bad day?" turned and walked out.
Teixeira hit a go-ahead, two-run triple off Padilla in the seventh inning at Fenway Park on July 6, sparking a weekend war of words. Padilla accused Teixeira of wronging Latino teammates when they played together on the Texas Rangers in 2006-07, and Teixeira said Padilla threw at hitters and "didn't have a lot of friends in the game." Padilla responded Teixeira would "be better off playing a women's sport."
Teixeira said he's been trying to put the tiff behind.
"Emotion is part of the game, but if you let the emotions get the best of you, especially as a hitter, you swing too hard or you swing at pitches over your head, that does you no good," he said.
Following a rain delay of 2 hours, 4 minutes, Gonzalez hit an RBI double and scored on Will Middlebrook's two-run double in the first, then hit a three-run homer off CC Sabathia in the fifth.
Chris Stewart's first home run since September cut the gap to 3-1 in the third, but Gonzalez boosted the lead with two outs in the fifth when he lined a home run into the right-field bleachers. Gonzalez leads the majors in batting average with runners in scoring position at .418 (41 for 98).
New Yankees right fielder Ichiro Suzuki raced into the right-center gap to rob Gonzalez of an extra-base hit with a catch just in front of the warning track in the seventh.
Lester, who had been 0-3 with a 10.42 ERA in his previous four starts, allowed four runs and four hits in six innings and watched his bullpen blow a lead he left with for the fifth time. He fanned Robinson Cano in the sixth for his 1,000th strikeout.
"We needed to win that game," Lester said. "Guys came back and kept fighting. That was big for us."
NOTES: Valentine caused a stir before the game when he said the Red Sox medical staff instructed him not to play LF Carl Crawford four days in a row, a mandate Valentine said he ignored earlier in the month after the left fielder came off the DL. ... Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona visited with Boston players before the game in the Red Sox clubhouse, preparing for his job as a broadcaster for Sunday night's game on ESPN. ... Sabathia gave up a season-high six runs and eight hits in six innings.