Saltalamacchia's slam leads Red Sox over Yanks

Jarrod Saltalamacchia broke a tie game with a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Boston Red Sox pinned an 8-4 loss on the New York Yankees in the opener of a three-game series between the bitter rivals from Fenway Park.

Saltalamacchia was one of five Boston regulars to collect two hits as the Red Sox moved another step closer towards a possible AL East title with their eighth win in 10 games. Stephen Drew had a two-run double as part of a 2-for-4 night, while David Ortiz went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored in the triumph.

"We've got the ability to show the resiliency," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We're getting big hits. It's been spread around. I thought we had a very good offensive approach tonight."

Brandon Workman (6-3) received the victory after retiring the only batter he faced to end the top of the seventh. John Lackey worked the first 6 1/3 innings for Boston, permitting four runs on seven hits.

The Yankees entered this important set off three straight wins in Baltimore, but saw their streak come to an end despite a 4-for-4, two-RBI performance from Robinson Cano. Brendan Ryan added two hits, including a solo homer, in the setback, which dropped New York two games behind Tampa Bay for the AL's second wild card berth after the Rays bested Minnesota on Friday.

Saltalamacchia's slam off Preston Claiborne handed Hiroki Kuroda (11-11) his fourth consecutive losing decision. The struggling righty was charged with five runs on eight hits over six-plus frames.

Kuroda gave up a leadoff single to Shane Victorino with the game tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh and was lifted for Cesar Cabral, who promptly hit Ortiz with a pitch before Claiborne walked pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes to load the bases.

Claiborne bounced back to strike out Daniel Nava, but had a low fastball hammered by Saltalamacchia over the Boston bullpen to put the Red Sox in front to stay.

"It hurts pretty bad," Claiborne said. "I know I let the guys down. I know this one's on me."

The Yankees had battled their way back from a 4-0 deficit and pulled even on Cano's clutch two-run double off reliever Craig Breslow with two out in the top of the seventh. New York had loaded the bases on a pair of singles that chased Lackey and a walk to Alex Rodriguez.

Boston's bullpen was stingy thereafter, though, with Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara retiring the side in order over the final two frames after inheriting the lead.

The Red Sox had the bats working early on, pounding Kuroda for four runs on four hits to take a comfortable lead after one inning of play.

Dustin Pedroia started things off with a base hit and Ortiz doubled into the left-field corner two batters later to put two in scoring position with one out. After a Mike Carp grounder brought home Pedroia, Nava laced an opposite- field base hit to increase the margin to 2-0 and Drew followed with a double off the Green Monster that knocked in two more runs.

Kuroda ran into more trouble in the second, but escaped out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam to keep it a 4-0 game. He didn't allow a run over the next four innings as well, and his Yankee teammates slowly closed the gap as the contest went on.

Lackey had yielded just one run -- Ryan's solo homer to begin the third -- and three hits through the first five innings before New York cut into its deficit in the sixth.

Cano doubled with one out and moved to third on an Alfonso Soriano single in front of Lyle Overbay's sacrifice fly, a shot into the gap in right-center field that Victorino tracked down to prevent more than the one run from scoring.

Game Notes

Uehara has now retired 37 consecutive hitters, the longest stretch for a reliever since the White Sox' Bobby Jenks set down 41 in a row in 2007, and owns a scoreless inning streak of 30 1/3 frames ... The Yankees announced that center fielder Brett Gardner could miss the remainder of the regular season after an MRI taken Friday revealed a Grade 1 strain of his left oblique. Gardner suffered the injury in Thursday's series finale with Baltimore ... Kuroda, who hasn't won since Aug. 12, fell to 1-7 over his last 10 starts against AL East opponents and 1-4 against Boston this season ... New York lost for only the fourth time in its last 22 outings when homering ... The Red Sox improved to 50-30-1 all-time in games played on Friday the 13th.