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Mike Napoli: the good, the bad and the walk-off

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  July 22, 2013 01:58 AM

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Here's how tonight's game went for Mike Napoli:

• Strikeout to start the second inning.

• Three-run homer to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead in the third inning.

• Strikeout to end the fourth inning to leave two runners stranded.

• Strikeout to end the sixth inning to leave two runners stranded.

• Double-play with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning.

• Walk-off home run in the 11th inning to give the Red Sox an 8-7 victory.

It's hard to find righthanded power in baseball and sometimes the price you pay comes in the form of excruciating outs. But sometimes you walk off into the early morning hours with a big win against the Yankees, too.

"It's a snapshot of his career path," Sox manager John Farrell said. "We know and live with some swing and miss. The ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark to all fields is present every time he steps into the batter's box."

Napoli takes a balanced view of his ups and downs.

“That’s what great about this game, you always get another chance,” he said. “I was glad I got the opportunity to go up there and make up for it.”

Napoli admitted he was trying to hit a home run when he came up with two outs and nobody on against Adam Warren in the 11th. He got ahead 2-and-0, swung and missed twice then took ball three. After fouling off a cutter, he got one up over the plate and crushed it.

"At least try and hit a double or drive the ball somewhere,” Napoli said. “You’re trying to make good contact and I got a pitch I could do it on.”

Also:

• CC Sabathia, who turned 33 on Sunday, lasted five innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits. In his last 10 starts against the Red Sox, the big lefty has a 6.06 earned run average and only three wins.

"It's kind of strange. He's been so good for so long and to see him struggle a little bit is kind of strange,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It's not something we're used to seeing."

Sabathia has a 4.37 ERA this season and the Yankees are 12-9 in the games he has started.

"It's embarrassing but I have to try and work through it. Figure something out and stop hurting this team and helping it," he said.

• Winning pitcher Pedro Beato, a native New Yorker, said some friends who are Yankees fans texted him after the game to say they were rooting for him.

"I was just trying to give the offense a chance," said Beato, who got through the top of the 11th inning.

The inning ended when Eduardo Nunez was thrown out stealing second. Replays showed he was safe but Dustin Pedroia made a quick tag and sold it to umpire Mike Everitt.

• The Sox maintained a 1½-game lead on the Tampa Bay Rays, who arrive at Fenway on Monday night for a four-game series. Tampa Bay has won 17 of its last 19 games. In taking two of three from the Yankees, the 60-40 Sox have won 20 series. That matches what they had all last season. The Yankees leave seven games out of first.

• The Sox are 6-3 against the Yankees this season.

• Lost in the hubbub was Matt Thornton's perfect eighth inning. ... Along with Drake Britton pitching in consecutive games for the first time in his life.

• The Yankees haven't hit a home run in their last six games against the Red Sox. That last happened in 1967.

• Jonny Gomes has five home runs in his last 19 games and has hit safely in his last 11 starts.

Back at it tomorrow ... well tonight. Thanks for reading.

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