BOSTON -- Not many people fire up Mark Teixeira quite like Vicente Padilla. And following the 10-8 Yankees win on Friday night, in which Teixeira drove in the eventual winning run off Padilla with a seventh-inning triple, the Yankees first baseman ripped the Red Sox reliever for his history of throwing at hitters.
"He doesn't have a lot of friends in the game," said Teixeira after the game. "But, it was just a big win against an arch-rival, and the first game of a long series. We know it's going to be a very tough series. It feels good to get this first one."
Their history dates back to 2005, when Teixeira -- while with the Texas Rangers -- hit two home runs in his first two at-bats of the game against Padilla -- who was then pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies. In Teixeira's third at-bat of the game, Padilla hit him with a pitch.
The two were also teammates in Texas in 2006 and 2007, and had an uncomfortable encounter when Teixeira had to ask Padilla to stop purposely going after opposing players, because Teixeira thought that he was receiving most of the retaliation from opposing pitchers.
Then, when Teixeira was with the Yankees in 2009 and Padilla was still with the Rangers, Padilla hit Teixeira twice in the same game, causing Teixeira to lose his cool while heading down to first base.
On Friday night, with the Red Sox holding a 7-6 lead in the top of the seventh inning, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine brought in the right-hander Padilla to face the switch-hitting Teixeira, with runners on first and second and one out.
That one out came the at-bat prior, as big lefty Andrew Miller struck out Robinson Cano.
"I didnt care about the personal stuff and I knew Teixeira was 2-for-10 with a couple of home runs," said Valentine the game "But that wasnt this year with the way Padillas been throwing."
Teixeira said that he wasn't even expecting to see Padilla in that spot.
"I didn't even really notice Padilla warming up, because I was worried about Miller throwing 97," said Teixeira. "I mean, this guy's a big lefty, throwing 97, just struck out Cano. I wasn't even thinking that they were going to bring in somebody else. So I was kind of getting in my right-handed mode, to think about how I was going to hit against Miller. I was very surprised that they brought in Padilla."
Padilla came in, and this time, Teixeira was able to get the last laugh, as he ripped a 3-and-2 pitch into the triangle in center field, scoring two runs and giving the Yankees an 8-7 lead with a one-out triple.
Given the history of the two, still, Teixeira was "100 percent" convinced that Padilla wasn't going to throw at him in that spot.
"He's not going to want to mess around in this at-bat," said Teixeira. "Almost every at-bat he tries to throw at your head or tries to throw behind you or something screwy. But, 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.
"He's been pitching really well, too. So, I don't think he's going to be messing around there. It was definitely one of those at-bats where I knew I was going to get a pitch to hit.
"If no one is on, and if they have a three-run lead, then yeah, I'm probably thinking he's going to try to mess round and do what he does," he later added. "But in that situation, I don't think he's trying to put any more players on. He's not trying to let the runners advance. The game's on the line there. he's trying to get outs."
The triple started a four-run inning that ended up being the deciding factor. And when first asked about how much more satisfying it was to get that big of a hit off of Padilla, Teixeira gave the politically correct answer.
"I don't hit a lot of triples," he said. "I had a triple and a stolen base today. I don't think that's ever happened. I'll have to look at the Elias Sports Bureau for that one. But, it was just a big hit. It didn't matter who it was off of. It was a long game, and when you have a chance to win the game, it's just always a good feeling."
But when asked again, he admitted to that triple being even sweeter, coming against Padilla.
"A little bit. I mean, the guy throws at people," said Teixeira. "The fact of the matter. I'm not saying anything that's news. It is what it is. I've always just been someone that wants to play the game the right way. You play hard, but you don't play cheap. And, I've always just kind of lived that way too. Some guys decide to take matters into their own hands.
"In the NFL, he'd probably be suspended by Roger Goodell eight games or a whole season. But this is baseball."
While it wasn't the first time Teixeira had words for the way Padilla goes about his business on the mound, it sounds as if his passion for the subject won't make it his last.
"There's only one guy in baseball," said Teixeira. "No one else does this. That's the thing that's unbelievable to me. No one else in baseball does this. Whether he's changed his ways or whatever, I hope he does. And that's great, because he's a good pitcher. The guy's got really good stuff. And it'd be nice to just talk to him as a baseball player, not as someone who throws at people."