Pictured at right, DH David Ortiz admires the flight of his eighth-inning fly ball. Unfortunately, it was wasted as the ball fell short of the distance and hit off the fence in right field. While Big Papi did manage to drive in the game-tying run with his swat, he was thrown out trying to ’stretch’ his drive into a double.
For the second consecutive evening, the Red Sox fell into an early 5-0 hole against the NY Yankees in The Bronx and rallied to take a late-inning lead. But this time Jonathan Papelbon did his job and closed out the ballgame, as the Red Sox held on for a 7-6 win over their Eastern-division nemesis.
That’s not to say it was easy.
The Red Sox had to outlast Yankees starter CC Sabathia, rally against future-closer Joba Chamberlain, and beat future Hall-of-Famer Mariano Rivera.
And if that wasn’t enough, Papelbon then had to overcome an error by SS Marco Scutaro to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning—eventually retiring DH Juan Miranda and left fielder Randy Winn to end the game.
With one out and runners at the corners in the bottom of the ninth, Pappy got Miranda on a tapper back to the mound—and with the tying run at third and the winning run at second, he struck out Winn to end the ballgame.
After the game, Papelbon said, “I was hoping all night long I would get another chance. It’s a heavyweight fight. They might get one good blow in but they’re not going to knock me down.”
New York played the game under protest after starter Josh Beckett was pulled from the ballgame (with tightness in his back) in the middle of the fifth inning following a two-run double by 2B Robinson Cano.
With the score 5-0 in favor of NY, pitching coach John Farrell visited the mound—and after speaking with his starter, he signaled to the bullpen for RHP Manny Delcarmen, who was given as many warm-up pitches as he needed before play resumed. Manager Terry Francona and a trainer walked briskly to the mound when they saw Farrell’s gesture to the bullpen.
Beckett had missed his previous turn in the rotation due to back spasms, but said after the game that his injury is not that serious.
The Yankees protested on the basis there was no indication of an injury to Beckett at that point of the game and Delcarmen should not have been given all the time he needed to get ready.
NY skipper Joe Girardi said, “To me, [Delcarmen] shouldn’t get all his pitches there. In my eyes it was not done in the right way. Anytime a guy is in trouble, you signal to the bullpen and say, ‘Oh, he’s hurt.’ That’s a huge advantage [for the team on defense].”
The game lasted 4 hours and 9 minutes—the longest nine-inning game in the majors this year—and that's not even including the 59-minute rain delay at the start of the game.
The Yankees scored twice in the second, once in the fourth, and twice more in the fifth off Beckett before Delcarmen (1.1 IP), Ramon Ramirez (1 IP), Hideki Okajima (.2 IP) and Dan Bard (.1 IP) quieted the New York offense.
The Red Sox offense took advantage and clawed back into the game, thanks in part to a pair of costly Yankee errors.
Boston scored a run off Sabathia in the sixth inning on Kevin Youkilis’ seventh home run of the year and added four runs (three earned) on four hits off Chamberlain in the eighth inning (Joba was serenaded by a chorus of boos as he walked off the mound at the end of the inning).
The Sox then scored twice off Rivera in the ninth to take a 7-5 lead.
Trailing 5-1 as the eighth inning began, the Red Sox immediately caught a break when Marco Scutaro reached base on a throwing error by 3B Alex Rodriguez. Dustin Pedroia followed with a single into right field to put men at first and second bases. J D Drew drove Scutaro home with a double to left, moving Pedey to third base. Youkilis then singled to right field to pull the Sox within a run.
After a ground out, David Ortiz ripped a ball off the wall in right field to plate Youkilis with the tying run but Big Papi got caught pulling “a Manny” (he stood there admiring the ball thinking it was a home run) and was thrown out at second base by CF Brett Gardner trying to 'stretch' the hit to a double.
With the game tied at five in the top of the ninth, RF Marcus Thames—Monday night’s hero—dropped Scutaro’s wind-whipped fly ball with one out, putting runners on first and second base.
One out later, defensive replacement Jeremy Hermida, who replaced Drew in right field in the eighth inning, hit a liner over Winn’s head in left field to put the Sox up 7-5.
Rivera—always a class act —made no excuses.
“I got a chance to still do my job to get (Hermida) out and nothing would have happened. That’s part of the game. You still have to get the job done,” Rivera said.
Scutaro booted Alex Rodriguez’s lead-off grounder to shortstop in the bottom of the ninth (his second error of the game) and Cano made it 7-6 with an RBI double.
That’s when Pappy bore down.
Bard (1-1) retired one batter to record the win.
Drew left the game with a sore left calf and tight right hamstring.
Yankees DH Nick Johnson had surgery on his right hand.