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Yankees-Red Sox: Marcus Thames' Walk-Off Homer Devastates Boston,11-9

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IMay 18, 2010

NEW YORK - MAY 17:  Marcus Thames #38 of the New York Yankees celebrates his two-run walk off home run in the ninth inning to beat the Boston Red Sox on May 17, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 11-9.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

In 2009, the Yankees won a total of 15 games in walk-off hit fashion.

In the 2010 season, the Yankees got their first of the season in a much needed way against their oldest rival.

Monday night pitted the Yankees and Red Sox in the first of two games at Yankee Stadium.

Early on, the Yankees got a 5-0 lead in the first inning off Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, who just looked awful against the Yankees.

Yankees starter Phil Hughes wasn't as sharp as he has been all season, entering Monday's game 5-0.

Hughes allowed a solo home run to David Ortiz to make it 6-2 in the fourth inning and then allowed a three-run home run to J.D. Drew that cut the Yankees' lead to just 6-5.

Hughes made it through five innings but allowed six hits and five runs and only struck out three.

In the top of the seventh, with the Yankees ahead 7-6, New York called upon Chan Ho Park to get some much-needed outs from the bullpen.

While he did escape the seventh, the eighth inning was a total disaster.

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Park allowed a single to Drew, then a line-drive, two-run home run to Kevin Youkilis that made it 8-7 Boston.

In the next at-bat, Victor Martinez drilled a Park pitch into the right field seats and made it 9-7.

It might have been Park's first game back from the disabled list, but it's pretty clear that he is terrible against the Red Sox in 2010. Trying to trust Park in major game situations may be getting harder for Joe Girardi to do this season, especially in games against the Red Sox.

As bad as Park was, the relief for the Red Sox was even worse in the ninth inning,

Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon entered the game trying to close out the game, but because of his lack of command and velocity, he was going to be in for a rough night.

Papelbon first allowed a leadoff double to Brett Gardner. Mark Teixeira flied out to deep right field for the first out, but it allowed Gardner to advance to third.

Next at-bat, first pitch seen, Alex Rodriguez drilled a fastball to deep left-center field and into the Boston bullpen and tied the game up at 9-9.

This wasn't the first time A-Rod crushed a pitch off the Boston closer that impacted a game. Back in June of 2007 at Fenway Park, A-Rod hit a go-ahead home run off Papelbon, so history found a way of repeating itself.

After Robinson Cano flied out to deep center, Papelbon made a huge mistake by hitting Francisco Cervelli on the forearm with a pitch. Whether the hit-by-pitch was intentional or it just got away, it gave another Yankee a chance to swing the bat.

Marcus Thames made the most of it by crushing the first fastball off Papelbon over the left field fence and ending a wild game 11-9 in favor of the Yankees.

Thames got the first walk-off hit for the Yankees in 2010. He also got the very first whipped-cream pie to the face from A.J. Burnett.

Neither team really had any good pitching on this night, and it basically came down to whoever had the last at-bat would win the game.

But the biggest deciding factor in this game was putting Papelbon in the game. Two days ago, Papelbon pitched 2.1 innings against the Tigers, which is quite a bit to ask a closer to throw in today's game, but in Monday night's game, Papelbon didn't have the same command, velocity, and location on any of his pitches. His fastballs might have been batting practice served up for the Yankees, because they crushed every one he threw.

While Papelbon took the loss, Javier Vazquez got the win after pitching to the last batter of the ninth inning. Vazquez was moved to the bullpen for this series because of how depleted the Yankees bullpen was.

The Yankees are now 5-2 on the year against Boston and will send up CC Sabathia Tuesday night to square off against Josh Beckett.

In what started out as a blowout, Monday night's contest turned into a thriller with a great finish and very well could turn out to be a game played as a Yankees Classic on the YES Network in the future.

Just another chapter in the greatest rivalry of sports that went in favor of the Yankees.

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