Mark Teixeira said he had no pretenses about the solo home run he hit off Felix Doubront with two outs in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game against the Red Sox. At the time, Teixeira thought it would amount to nothing more than an afterthought after the Sox had streaked to a 9-0 lead.
At no point did Teixeira ever fathom it would be the first salvo in a barrage of 15 unanswered runs for the Yankees, who erupted for seven runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to pin the Red Sox with a soul-crushing 15-9 loss before a Fenway Park crowd of 37,839.
“No, I thought it was a meaningless home run, really,’’ said Teixeira, as he stood in the visitors’ clubhouse still amazed by the Yankees’ epic victory, which tied the franchise record for the largest deficit overcome in a win.
Teixeira and fellow Bronx Bash Brother Nick Swisher were responsible for sparking the conflagration that engulfed Fenway when they went a combined 6 for 12 with 12 RBIs, 5 runs scored, 2 doubles, and 3 home runs, including a pair by Teixeira (from both sides of the plate), and a grand slam by Swisher off Vicente Padilla in the seventh.
“We’ve had some tough games this season, no doubt about it, with some one-run games, some extra-inning games,’’ said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “But our offense just keeps coming at you and guys keep putting together good at-bats. Tex had a huge day, Swish had a huge day. I think we got six RBIs from both of them, so I can’t say enough about ’em.’’
It marked the first time the Yankees had two players record at least six RBIs in the same game since April 18, 2005, when Alex Rodriguez and Tino Martinez had six each against Tampa Bay. It was the first time, however, it was accomplished on the road since Aug. 23, 1999, when Girardi (seven RBIs) and Scott Brosius (six RBIs) combined for 13 at Texas.
But it was Teixeira’s solo shot that seemed to open the floodgates.
“It was really the first pitch I saw good all day,’’ said Teixeira, who lamented the difficulty he and his Yankees teammates had in the first five innings trying to spot Doubront’s lively fastball, which seemed to dart in and out of the late-afternoon shadows that fell upon home plate.
“Those shadows can get tough,’’ he said. “But at that time, it was 9-1 and you go, ‘Oh well, at least I put a pretty good swing on it.’ ’’
Interestingly, TV replays of Teixeira’s solo homer (which came from the right side of the plate) showed his eyes grow as wide as saucers.
“Yeah, every time I see a pitch, or anything that’s coming at me, my eyes get big,’’ Teixeira said. “Even if you toss me a ball from about 10 feet, my eyes get big. It’s just a weird thing.’’
Seeing Doubront depart the game after six innings, though, had to come as a sight for sore eyes to Yankee hitters. They no doubt smacked their lips every time the doors of Boston’s bullpen swung open in a procession of punching bags, six in all, who combined to give up 14 runs on 12 hits and five walks.
“You have to give Doubront a lot of credit,’’ said Swisher, who went 3 for 6, including the fifth grand slam of his career. “He really had us off balance and we really didn’t do much off him all night.’’
Fox Sports left a lopsided 9-1 game to switch to Seattle, where Phil Humber of the White Sox took a perfect game into the ninth against the Mariners. Swisher’s grand slam wound up being shown on tape delay.
When Fox viewers returned to Fenway after Humber clinched the 21st perfect game in major league history, Swisher had already cut the deficit to 9-5.
“They were probably wondering what had happened,’’ Swisher said, smiling.
Teixeira followed with a three-run homer off Matt Albers from the left side of the plate, cutting the deficit to 9-8. It marked his 34th multihomer game and the 13th time in his career he had homered from both sides of the plate.
“Oh man, I’m so jealous - so jealous,’’ Swisher said. “Definitely something’s clicking if you’re able to do it from both sides of the plate.’’
Swisher capped another seven-run outburst in the eighth when he ripped a two-run double to center off Alfredo Aceves to put the Yankees ahead to stay, 10-9.
As big as his grand slam was, Swisher seemed more demonstrative after hitting his go-ahead double, pounding his chest with both fists and howling in delight as he stood at second base, flashing a wide grin at the Yankees’ dugout.
“Well, yeah, that was the one that put us over the hump,’’ Swisher said. “To come back - the seventh inning, after being down, 9-0, against the Red Sox - to be able to come back and pull that win off, that’s a big win for us, man. It was a huge momentum shift for us.
“This team, we never give up,’’ Swisher said. “Without Tex hitting that home run to put us on the board and break open everything, you kind of never know what could have happened.’’
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.