Mark Teixeira said he wasn’t really paying attention to the bullpen. He was standing on deck watching Andrew Miller fire upper-90s fastballs at Robinson Cano.
“This guy’s a big lefty, throws 97, just struck out Cano,” Teixeira said. “So I wasn’t even thinking that they were going to bring in somebody else. I was getting into my right-handed mode to think about how I was going to hit against Miller. I was very surprised they brought in Padilla.”
When you see Robinson Cano hug David Ortiz pregame, you know that a lot of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is for the fans. It’s built for prime time. Stirs excitement. The Teixeira-Padilla rivalry has nothing to do with hats and t-shirts.
“The guy throws at people, fact of the matter,” Teixeira said. “I’m not saying anything that’s news. It is what it is. I’ve always been someone that wants to play the game the right way. You play hard, but you don’t’ play cheap. … No one else does (what Padilla does). That’s the thing that’s unbelievable to me. No one else in baseball does this. Whether he’s changed his ways, I hope he does. The guy’s a good pitcher. He’s got really good stuff. It would be nice to just talk to him as a baseball player, not someone who throws at people.”
Padilla is third among active pitchers in hit batters, and he’s hit Teixeira three times. Their head-to-head dislike for one another extends to when they were teammates in Texas. Teixeira doesn’t get heated very often, but he does when he talks about Padilla.
With two on in a one-run game, though, Teixeira knew Padilla wouldn’t try anything crazy. This was going to be a legitimate at-bat, hitter vs. pitcher, and Padilla threw nothing but fastballs. It was a 3-2 pitch that Teixeira drove to center field — very nearly out of the park — for a go-ahead triple.
“Almost every at-bat, he tries to throw at your head, does a throw 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. … Game-winning hits always feel good, but that one definitely felt real good.”
• About four hours ago, it was hard to believe something might actually overshadow that first inning. The Yankees scored five runs in the top of the first, then the Red Sox scored five of their own in the bottom of the first. It’s the first time ever as opponents that the Yankees and Red Sox have each scored five runs in the first inning. That last time any pair of teams did it was Detroit vs. Cleveland in 2005.
• Good way to sum it up from Girardi: “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.”
• Hiroki Kuroda said the long wait in the top of the first had nothing to do with it. He simply didn’t have his stuff today. “Not just in the first inning, but the whole outing,” he said. “I didn’t have most of my pitches.”
• Girardi, though, thought the long wait might have played a part. After that first inning, Kuroda allowed two runs through 4.2 innings. It was actually huge that he was able to pitch fairly deep into the game, especially with a doubleheader tomorrow. “If you’re off tomorrow you might (use the bullpen) a little bit different,” Girardi said. “But for the most part, I did what I thought it was to win the game tonight. I wasn’t worried about tomorrow. We always talk about, worry about tomorrow tomorrow.”
• Big, underrated play by Derek Jeter to get the out at third and keep the Red Sox from loading the bases. Jeter said, whenever there’s a runner at second, he gives the third baseman a heads up that he might throw over there. “I was basically thinking if he hit the ball that way I was going to go to third,” Jeter said. “I thought it was the only play I had. … We work on it. I don’t think it was that hard. You catch it and throw it to third. It can be difficult if you’re throwing on the run, but if you don’t get caught off guard, I don’t think it’s too difficult.”
• After blowing a few middle-of-the-inning, runners-on-base situations recently, Dave Robertson got a huge strikeout to end the seventh. He was pulled with an out to go in the eighth, but he didn’t disagree with the decision. His command wasn’t great today. “I was able to get a couple of outs and at least make it a little easier for Sori,” Robertson said.
• Alex Rodriguez stole two bases tonight, giving him nine steals for the year. That’s his highest total since 2009. He’s 9-for-9 on stolen base attempts.
• Russell Martin is now hitless in his past 30 at-bats. It’s the most consecutive at-bats without a hit by a Yankee since 2004 when both Jeter and Jason Giambi went hitless in 32 straight.
• Darnell McDonald made his Yankees debut as a defensive replacement. His brother Donzell played in three games for the Yankees in 2001. They are the eighth set of brothers too play for the Yankees in franchise history.
• Final word goes to Teixeira: “I don’t hit a lot of triples. I had a triple and a stolen base today. I don’t know if that’s ever happened. We’ll have to look at the Elias Sports Bureau for that one. It was just a big hit. It doesn’t matter who it was off of. Long game, so when you have a chance to win the game, it’s always a good feeling.”
Associated Press photos