BOSTON -- Not much fires Mark Teixeira up more than the prospect of stepping into a batter's box against Vicente Padilla, a pitcher whom he believes seems to regard the strike zone as completely optional.
In the seventh inning on Friday, however, Teixeira showed no fear of his tower being buzzed. Digging his heels in, Teixeira ripped a go-ahead two-run triple that lifted the Yankees to a wild 10-8 slugfest victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
"Game-winning hits always feel good, but that one definitely felt real good," Teixeira said.
Teixeira clapped his hands and pumped his fists with emotion after sliding into third base, marking a satisfying blow for the slugger, who has spoken publicly several times about his disdain of Padilla's reputation for throwing at opponents.
"Almost every at-bat, he tries to throw at your head, throws behind you or something screwy," Teixeira said. "With first and second and the game on the line, he's not going to do it then, so I could actually dig in and look for a good pitch to hit."
Raul Ibanez followed with a run-scoring double off Padilla, and Eric Chavez greeted Scott Atchison with an RBI single in the four-run frame, helping the Yankees pull away in a contest that saw both clubs bat around for five runs in the first inning.
"It seems like it's the same story every time we come here," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. "No lead ever seems like it's safe. As the game goes on, the wall gets closer and closer. Anything can happen."
Rafael Soriano closed the contest out with a four-out save, his first since Aug. 29, 2007 -- when he was with the Braves -- marking his 20th save in 21 chances this season.
Jeter made a key defensive play in the seventh inning after Cody Ross' solo home run drew the Red Sox within two runs, ranging to his right and cutting down Adrian Gonzalez at third base on a fielder's choice.
"Pretty much, I was basically thinking if [Mike Aviles] hit the ball that way, I was going to go to third," Jeter said. "I thought it was the only play I had."
Jeter's sharp play helped splash cold water on a budding Boston rally, squelched as David Robertson entered to strike out Nick Punto and leave two men aboard.
"It really felt like a big out," Robertson said. "It was a weird game. The amount of runs that were scored there, it's crazy. I know it's just one out, but any time you can get an out with runners on base, it's a big out."
Starters Josh Beckett and Hiroki Kuroda were both wobbly, but both managers pushed their starters, eyeing Saturday's day-night doubleheader as well as the upcoming All-Star break.
The Yankees sent nine men to the plate in the first inning against Beckett, highlighted by Teixeira's two-run single. But the Red Sox returned the favor in the home half, also sending nine batters to the plate and scoring five times.
"You know, in this ballpark, a lot of crazy things happen," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "My thought is, just keep building on leads and building on leads. But I looked up in the top of the second, and there was no lead."
Jarrod Saltalamacchia's three-run homer was the big blow of Boston's first inning, knotting the game and hitting the reset button.
"As a starter, you want to go deeper in the game," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "Five innings is not enough as a starter. I got run support in the first inning, but I couldn't hold onto the lead, so I just didn't do my job tonight."
Both clubs added a run in the second inning as the scoreboard retained its symmetry; Curtis Granderson tripled and scored on an Alex Rodriguez groundout, and David Ortiz responded with a run-scoring single to drive home Daniel Nava.
The Red Sox claimed their only lead of the evening against Kuroda in the fifth inning. Gonzalez singled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Mauro Gomez's first career RBI, a single.
Beckett completed five innings, permitting six runs and eight hits. He walked two and struck out five.
"I was really struggling," Beckett said. "I think in the first inning, I just wanted to throw a strike. I didn't care where they hit it."
Kuroda's final line was just as unflattering, as the veteran settled down but never quieted Boston's bats. Kuroda allowed seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits but was able to thank his lineup for picking him up later in the evening.
"We want to have a good end to the first half here, especially against the Red Sox," Teixeira said. "It's going to be a very tough weekend with the doubleheader [Saturday] and the night game on Sunday. For us to get this win, it was a team effort."