Mark Teixeira had the key hit in a wild 10-8 win over the Red Sox last night, delivering a go-ahead two-run triple off Vicente Padilla in a four-run seventh inning.
After the game, Teixeira told reporters that the triple was especially satisfying because he managed to get the best of a long-time nemesis.
“Game-winning hits always feel good,” he said, “but that one definitely felt good.”
“He doesn’t have too many friends in the game,” said Teixeira, who has called out Padilla before for throwing at batters’ heads. “Guy throws at people. Fact of the matter, I’m not saying anything that’s news.”
“In the NFL, he’d probably be suspended by (commissioner) Roger Goodell eight games or a whole season,” Teixeira said. “There’s only one guy in baseball. No one else does this. That’s the thing that is unbelievable to me.”
Padilla’s reputation as a headhunter is well-documented, as he has drawn criticism in the past for putting his teammates at risk for retaliation.
This particular feud stems back to June 9, 2005 when Teixeira was with the Rangers and Padilla was pitching for the Phillies. Teixeira homered in his first two at-bats against Padilla before getting plunked. He was hitless over his last eight at-bats against Padilla before last night’s triple, with three walks and two other hit-by-pitches sprinkled in.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.