Boston’s Mike Napoli, left, celebrates his walk-off home run in the 11th inning.
Boston's Mike Napoli, left, celebrates his walk-off home run in the 11th inning. (Associated Press)

BOSTON - Mike Napoli's teammates weren't so concerned about what he did in the middle innings after his two home runs - one to start things off, the other to finish it.

Napoli hit a three-run shot after the Red Sox fell behind early, then he ended the game with a solo shot with two outs in the 11th inning, and Boston beat the New York Yankees 8-7 on Sunday night.

"He's a dangerous batter," Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "He can do damage at any point in the game."

Napoli ended the 4-hour, 46-minute game at 12:53 a.m. Monday.

The Red Sox scored seven runs after falling behind 3-0, thanks in part to Napoli's three-run homer in the third inning that cleared the seats above the Green Monster and the billboard above them. But they coughed up the lead when New York scored two in the sixth and two in the seventh to tie it 7-all.

It stayed that way until Napoli hit a 3-2 pitch from Adam Warren (1-1) into the center field bleachers. Napoli also struck out three times and grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the eighth.

"I had a chance to win it in the eighth - to put a run across with a sac fly," said Napoli, who has four homers in his last 12 games and 13 for the season. "That's what is so great about this game, you always get another chance. You've just got to keep going. You can't do anything about it."

Pedro Beato (1-0) pitched the 11th for the win, giving up a single to Eduardo Nunez before he was erased trying to steal second; replays showed he was barely safe.


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Nunez, Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano had three hits apiece for the Yankees. New York had runners at first and second with one out in the 10th but Drake Britton, making his second major-league appearance, got Lyle Overbay to ground into a double play.

"Only his second time out there, against a good club and our rivals," Saltalamacchia said.

The Red Sox are 60-40 through their first 100 games, 1½ games in front of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East and seven in front of the fourth-place Yankees. Boston won the three-game series between the longtime rivals on a weekend when New York learned that both shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez won't be able to return from the disabled list any time soon.

"We battled back and gave ourselves an opportunity to win that game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's a shame we had to lose in extra innings."

Boston moved Ryan Dempster up in the rotation to give Jon Lester a couple of extra days' rest after the All-Star break, but things started off poorly for the Red Sox right-hander.

Gardner, who also had three hits on Saturday, led off the game with a single, and then went to third when Dempster fielded Ichiro Suzuki's comebacker and threw it into center field for an error. Suzuki stole second, and Saltalamacchia threw the ball into center for another error that allowed Gardner to score and Suzuki to move to third. He scored on Vernon Wells' single to make it 2-0.

New York took a 3-0 lead in the second on Cano's RBI single.

The Red Sox rallied with a four-run third inning, taking the lead on Napoli's three-run homer. Shane Victorino added a two-run single in the fourth on a high chopper that bounced over the third baseman's head, and Jonny Gomes homered in the fifth to make it 7-3.

But The Yankees scored two in the sixth on RBI singles by Gardner and Cano before Overbay hit into an inning-ending double play. They tied it 7-all in the seventh on two singles, two walks - one of them a 15-pitch at-bat by Gardner - and third baseman Jose Iglesias' error when he charged a bunt and threw the ball into the photographers' box.

That saved CC Sabathia from the loss, despite following up his worst start of the year with one almost as bad. He allowed seven runs on nine hits, two walks and two hit batters, striking out five in five-plus innings.