There have been times the last few weeks when the Red Sox appeared intent on getting games over with as quickly as possible. The lack of enthusiasm was almost understandable given the state of their season.
That hasn’t been the case against the Yankees this week.
The passion was plentiful at Fenway Park on Wednesday night as the Sox were beaten, 5-4, by their old rivals in a game that lasted nearly four hours and included a series of ejections.
"We don’t want to lay down for anybody," Jarrod Saltalamacchia said.
The game nearly took an ugly turn in the eighth inning when umpire Alfonso Marquez called Cody Ross out on strikes with a runner on second and two outs.
The 3-and-2 pitch looked like a strike according to Pitch f/x, albeit low and on the outside corner.
After stepping toward first base, Ross turned at Marquez and held his bat overhead as though wielding an ax. A savage argument ensued. Ross, who is genial as they come, really lost it.
Ross was swiftly ejected, as was third base coach Jerry Royster. Manager Bobby Valentine pushed Ross away from the umpire and then, after returning to the dugout, was ejected.
Valentine returned to the field and shouted at Marquez for another minute. He has been ejected six times this season, a team record.
"Cody was really upset. I was just doing everything I could do to get Cody away from him," Valentine said. "He should be upset. He was battling his butt off and representing the tying run and winds up getting called out. So he’s upset. He's trying; he’s trying hard."
Ross was not available for comment afterward.
Curtis Granderson drove in three runs with a pair of home runs for the Yankees, who remain tied atop the American League East with the Orioles
Rafael Soriano got the last four outs of the game for his 37th save. He allowed a solo home run in the ninth inning by Saltalamacchia, who also doubled and tripled.
Mike Aviles reached on a two-out error to give the Sox one more chance. But Jacoby Ellsbury, who had a walk-off single on Tuesday, grounded back to the mound.
The Sox, down 5-1 in the seventh inning, scored the final three runs of the game.
“I really liked the way we kept coming back,” Valentine said.
• With the Sox down, 3-1, Alfredo Aceves allowed a single by Derek Jeter in the seventh inning then a blast to right field by Curtis Granderson, his second of the game. The ball landed several rows behind the Yankees’ bullpen.
With two outs, Aceves gave up a long double to center by Swisher and Valentine came to take him out of the game.
Rather than hand the ball to the manager, which is the custom, Aceves gave it to Saltalamacchia and walked around the mound on his way back to the dugout, going well out of his way to avoid Valentine.
Valentine chuckled when asked about it.
“Who cares if he showed me up?” he said. “If I have to explain Aceves’s actions, I’ll wind up going across the river and work for Harvard.”
Aceves was suspended for three games by the team last month for an incident that included an angry argument with Valentine when he was taken out of the closer’s job.
Aceves said there was no friction with Valentine.
“I’m good,” he said. "Ask him if he's good. I don't know."
If the Red Sox stand for something, Aceves will be disciplined again. You can't let a player embarrass a manager like that.
• The Sox have lost five of their last six games and 12 of 14. They have not won consecutive games since beating Kansas City at Fenway Aug. 26 and 27. At 33-42, the Sox are assured of having a losing record at home for the first time since going 39-42 in 1997.
• Saltalamacchia was 3 for 3 with a walk after missing three games with back spasms. The three extra-base hits were a first for him. He has 24 homers and 54 RBIs. “I wasn’t trying to do too much because of the back. I wasn’t trying to over-swing. I was standing in on balls, not trying to pull anything. Felt pretty good,” he said.
Said Valentine: “Salty has had a really good year for us this year. It's totally unappreciated by some.”
• Jeter left the game in the eighth inning with an injured left ankle but said he would play on Thursday.