Four Real? Red Sox vs Yankees 7-21-13

It was not Yankee starter CC Sabathia's night on
Sunday. The big lefty turned 33 but gave up
seven ER in six-plus innings. (Getty Images)

Jan-Christian Sorensen
Contributing Writer

There's no doubt Yankees starter CC Sabathia was disappointed when it was Mike Napoli who burst out the top of his birthday cake last night at Fenway Park.

Napoli turned on a fastball by Sabathia — who was celebrating his 33rd birthday on Sunday — and drove it over the Monster in the third inning to give the Sox a 4-3 advantage. And while Sabathia was long gone by the time the eleventh rolled around, it was Napoli who eventually won the see-saw battle with a mighty blast to dead center for the 8-7 victory.

Napoli's homer in the third was his 12th of the year, and the 22nd long ball Sabathia has surrendered this season, which tied the big lefty’s career high. Only two innings later Sabathia set a new mark when he served up his 23rd of the year on a solo bomb to deep left by Jonny Gomes.

It’s not the first time Sabathia has gotten a birthday spanking by the opposition. He’s 0-3 with a no-decision lifetime when he pitches on his big day.

Sunday's game marked only the second time Sabathia has given up seven earned runs in a start since joining the Yankees in 2009.

The walkoff win — Boston’s ninth this season — sees the Sox become the first team in the majors to reach the 60-win plateau, while New York falls to 52-46, seven games off the pace in the American League East.

Much like the base-running blunders that put a pox on the Sox in their 5-2 loss to the Yankees on Saturday, Boston's defence was once again grim: The Sox handed Sabathia an early gift in the first inning when they allowed the Yankees to cash in a pair of runs thanks to throwing errors by starter Ryan Dempster and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and a Jose Iglesias error in the seventh allowed the Yankees to eventually bring home two more and tie the game at seven heading into the eighth.

Despite the gaffes, Boston went against the odds in outgunning the Yankees — before the loss, New York boasted a 31-1 record in 2013 when scoring five runs or more in a game.

Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:

1) Emperor Napoli-on: With Boston down 3-1 and two men on the corners in the third, Napoli ripped a Sabathia pitch deep into the night and out on to Lansdowne St., instantly turning a two-run deficit into a 4-3 lead for the Sox. It was just the third homer for Napoli since June 2.

2) To the Victorino Belong the Spoils: After Stephen Drew was hit by a pitch in the fourth and Iglesias and Jacoby Ellsbury singled to load the bases, the Flyin’ Hawaiian singled to left to cash in two of his teammates and stake Boston to a short-lived 6-3 lead.

3) Iggy Gets Jiggy With It: With two men on and only one out in the sixth, Iglesias tossed the ball into the camera well along the first-base line trying to throw out Chris Stewart, allowing Vernon Wells to score from second, advancing Eduardo Nunez to third and cutting the Red Sox lead to 7-6. One batter later, Nunez came home to tie the score on a ground out by Luis Cruz.

4) Shhhhh… Nap Time: Napoli sent ‘em all home tired — but smiling — in the eleventh when he jacked an Adam Warren cutter deep to center to give the Red Sox the 8-7 walkoff win.

Tomorrow the Red Sox kick off a crucial four-game home stand against the Tampa Bay Rays, who sit just 1.5 games behind the Sox in second place in the AL East. Matt Moore (13-3, 3.44) will aim for his 14th win against recent Red Sox call-up Brandon Workman (0-0, 5.40). First pitch is set for 4:10 p.m. EST.

Twitter: @jan_doh