NEW YORK — If the Yankees watch the playoffs from home this season, it will be the Red Sox who put them on the couch.
The Sox antagonized their rivals again Friday night, rallying from a five-run deficit to beat the Yankees, 12-8, before a crowd of 44,117 that spent the final few innings booing a parade of ineffective relief pitchers.
Mike Napoli’s grand slam started the comeback and Shane Victorino’s two-run home run in the eighth inning finished it for the Sox. They have won four straight, seven of eight, and 11 of their last 13 games.
At 86-57, the Sox have the most wins in baseball. They have 17 more victories than last season with 19 games left.
“To come back on this stage, and they’re fighting, it’s huge. Every game for us is big for us,” Napoli said.
Victorino has 14 home runs, nine since Aug. 1. Five have come batting righthanded against a righthanded pitcher. He is hitting .382 in his last 19 games with 19 RBIs.
A switch-hitter, Victorino has been batting almost exclusively righthanded for the last five weeks to protect a sore left hamstring. Somehow that transformed him into a power hitter.
“Just doing an outstanding job,” manager John Farrell said.
The victory came a night after Mariano Rivera blew a save in the ninth inning and the Sox beat the Yankees in the 10th. Victorino won that game with an RBI single.
On Friday, as was the case Thursday, Victorino refused comment after the game.
After Victorino homered of Preston Claiborne (0-2), Daniel Nava walked with the bases loaded before Stephen Drew added an RBI single. The Red Sox have scored 41 runs on 50 hits, 13 of them home runs, in the last three games.
The fourth-place Yankees are 10 games out of first and falling in the wild-card race.
Rookie Brandon Workman (5-2) pitched 1⅓ innings for the win. Closer Koji Uehara got the final three outs despite the four-run lead.
Uehara has retired 27 consecutive batters, a perfect game spread over nine outings. He has not allowed a base runner since Aug. 17.
Through an interpreter, Uehara said he didn’t consider that a special accomplishment. But he acknowledged this is perhaps the best stretch of his career since he came to the majors from Japan in 2009.
“The numbers say that. I feel good about how I am pitching,” he said.
Trailing, 8-3, the Red Sox stormed back with five runs in the seventh inning, four against Phil Hughes.
Hughes was replaced in the New York rotation by lefthander David Huff, who starts on Saturday. His first relief appearance of the season was a wreck.
David Ross led off with a single. Victorino then lashed a single to center with one out. Pinch hitter Mike Carp walked to load the bases before Dustin Pedroia’s infield single drove in a run.
Lefty Boone Logan came in to face David Ortiz and struck him out looking at a full-count slider. With late-inning relievers David Robertson and Mariano Rivera unavailable because of recent use, Yankees manager Joe Girardi stuck with Logan against the righthanded Napoli.
“We kind of caught them in a vise a little bit just the way the lineup was laid out,” Farrell said.
Napoli (3 for 3 with two walks) worked the count full, fouled off two pitches, then hit a fly to right field that just eluded the leap of Ichiro Suzuki. The ball bounced off the top of the wall.
“I saw Ichiro timing his jump and it kind of made me nervous,” Napoli said. “I just got enough.”
It was the 19th home run of the season for Napoli, his fourth in 11 games and sixth career grand slam. Three of the slams have come this season.
The franchise season record is four slams by Babe Ruth in 1919.
“That’s pretty cool. Guys seem to be on base all the time when I’m up. I’ve had a lot of opportunities,” Napoli said. “Try to drive the ball somewhere and good things are happening.”
Red Sox starter Felix Doubront lasted only 3⅔ innings, giving up six runs on three hits and six walks. He has a 6.60 earned run average in his last six starts and could be pitching himself out of a potential postseason rotation.
“We’ve got some things we’ve got to work through and see what’s best for us and Felix as well,” Farrell said.
Doubront walked Derek Jeter with one out in the first inning before leaving a fastball over the plate that Alfonso Soriano launched into the seats in left field.
It was Soriano’s 30th home run of the season, his 13th in 39 games with the Yankees.
Doubront walked Vernon Wells, who has a .292 on-base percentage, to start the second inning. Eduardo Nunez followed with an RBI triple to the gap in left field.
Nunez scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Stewart to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead.
Doubront walked Mark Reynolds and Stewart with two outs in the fourth inning. Reynolds had a .313 on-base percentage and Stewart a .286 on-base percentage.
The lack of control was costly as Gardner followed with a line shot to center field. Victorino, playing center in place of an injured Jacoby Ellsbury, tried to make a diving catch and the ball got past him for a two-run triple.
That was the end of the night for Doubront, who threw only 46 of 88 pitches for strikes.
“I have to figure out what’s going on. It’s my mechanics,” Doubront said. “I feel fine physically.”
Rookie Rubby De La Rosa went 2 ⅓ innings and allowed two runs on four hits.
As Doubront struggled, Yankees starter Andy Pettitte continued what has been an impressive run.
The 41-year-old lefthander held the Sox to three runs on five hits over six innings. He walked three and struck out eight.
Pettitte has a 1.75 earned run average in his last six starts, going 3-0 in that span.
The Sox scored a run in the second inning when Napoli singled, Daniel Nava walked and Ross singled on an 0-and-2 pitch with two outs.
Napoli doubled to start the fourth inning, driving a fastball down the line in left. He advanced to third on a fly ball by Nava and scored when Drew grounded out.
Will Middlebrooks homered to left field in the fifth inning. It was his third home run in as many games and his fifth in 24 games since being recalled from Triple A Pawtucket.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.