NEW YORK — Stephen Drew hit a tying single off Mariano Rivera with two outs in the ninth inning, then Shane Victorino lined a go-ahead single in the 10th that sent the Boston Red Sox past the New York Yankees 9-8 in a Thursday night thriller.
Down to their last strike against Rivera, the Red Sox rallied in the opener of a four-game series loaded with playoff implications.
It felt like a playoff matchup, too, especially after New York erased a 7-2 deficit with six runs in the seventh. There were plenty of pitching changes and pinch hitters and a key pinch-runner, plus an outburst — Joba Chamberlain (2-1) was ejected by first base umpire Joe West, who ruled Victorino checked his swing right before the deciding hit.
The Red Sox own the best record in the American League, and won for the 10th time in 12 games. The Yankees had their three-game winning stopped in a loss that dented their push for a wild-card spot. This was the start of an 11-day stretch in which the longtime rivals will face each other seven times.
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Jacoby Ellsbury singled with one out in the 10th off Chamberlain and stole second. Victorino held up on a half-swing, West ruled, and lined a single that sent Ellsbury scooting home. Right fielder Ichiro made a strong throw, but catcher Austin Romine couldn’t handle it.
Craig Breslow (5-2) wound up with the win. He helped himself by picking off Alfonso Soriano at second base with one out in the ninth.
Koji Uehara earned his 18th save, extending his scoreless streak to 26 innings over 23 games.
Rivera entered with an 8-7 lead and got two quick outs. But Mike Napoli singled on a full count and pinch-runner Quintin Berry stole second, continuing to third when Romine’s errant throw bounced away. Drew tied and handed Rivera his sixth blown save in 47 tries, a day after he was needed for four outs.
Lyle Overbay’s two-out, two-run single capped a six-run rally in the seventh that put the Yankees ahead 8-7. Down 7-2, New York broke loose against starter Jake Peavy and relievers Matt Thornton and Junichi Tazawa.
• The Oakland Athletics activated catcher Derek Norris from the disabled list on Thursday.
Norris had been out since Aug. 20 with a broken left big toe. He spent three games in the minors on a rehab assignment, hitting .429 with two home runs and four runs batted in.
• A restaurant group ended its ties with suspended Brewers slugger Ryan Braun.
SURG Restaurant Group said in a statement it will change the name of the 8-Twelve MVP Bar & Grill in the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield. “Eight” is Braun’s jersey number, while “twelve” refers to the number worn by quarterback Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers.
• Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw is being recognized for his work off the field. He’s the winner of the 2013 Branch Rickey Award in recognition of his community work.
Created by the Rotary Club of Denver in 1991, the Branch Rickey Award honors individuals in baseball who contribute to their communities and are strong role models for young people.
At 25, Kershaw is the youngest person to receive the award.
• St. Louis first baseman Allen Craig has a sprained left foot but no fracture, a big relief for a Cardinals team that feared it had lost its cleanup hitter for the rest of the season.
Craig hurt his foot while rounding first base during a 5-4, 16-inning win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
• Vin Scully will serve as grand marshal of the 125th Rose Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena.
The beloved broadcaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers will be joined by his wife, Sandi, for the 5½-mile ride down Colorado Boulevard on Jan. 1.