As predicted, it was fun. Hey, we got to watch some extra baseball, but not too much so the team isn’t exhausted today. And we beat the Yankees and won the series and are now back in first place.
Beckett rocked. He was inefficient, but he still rocked. He pitched six innings but needed 101 pitches to do so, sixty of which were strikes. He gave up one run on six hits; it was a solo shot on the second pitch of the at-bat, a cutter down the pipe, in the fifth. He would also get hit in the leg by a ground ball that inning, but he’s fine; he hustled over to the ball without a limp and remained in the game. He walked two and struck out five. His best pitches were his usual best pitches: the two-seam, the four-seam, and the cutter. Nasty stuff. His curveball and changeup were pretty decent.
He struck out the first batter he faced: three four-seams and a curveball to put it away. His second inning was his best: only ten pitches and two back-to-back K’s to end it, the first on three pitches on a curveball, the second on a changeup. He racked up one more in the fourth with a cutter. His last strikeout occurred in his last at-bat; it was seven pitches and ended on a curveball.
We scored our first run in the second. A walk and two singles loaded the bases for Reddick, who struck out. Tek popped out. Scutaro then brought in one run with a single. That held as a lead until Beckett made his one mistake of the night, which tied the game.
We loaded the bases again in the sixth with two out for Ellsbury, who flied out. Ellsbury flying out in a two-out, bases-loaded situation? I didn’t know that was possible
Albers replaced Beckett in the seventh and gave up another solo shot. He was replaced by Morales, who was replaced by Wheeler, who was replaced by Paps. That one-run deficit held until the bottom of the ninth, when Mariano Rivera came out to pitch and consequently all the Yankee fans started tuning out because they just assumed he’d get the job done. As in 2004, they could not have been more wrong. Scutaro doubled off the Monster, and Ellsbury moved him to third with a sac bunt. All Pedroia did was fly out, but it was enough. It got the runner home and tied us back up.
Bard came on for the tenth; his inning was one-two-three with two strikeouts. The lineup came out for the tenth. Youk flied out to begin the inning. Then Papi doubled and McDonald came in to pinch-run. Crawford received an intentional walk. Reddick stepped up with the winning run ninety feet away. All he had to do was put the ball in play. He may have done nothing in a bases-loaded situation before, but now was his chance again to do something big. There was only one out in the inning, so even a sac fly would do.
Reddick put the ball in play. He singled to left. I imagine Brett Gardner felt pretty helpless at that moment.
McDonald came home. Walkoff mob in extra innings? Check. Pedroia and Papi started it, obviously. Win? Check. 3-2.
It was simple and straightforward. There was no power; of our eleven hits, those two doubles were our only ones for extra bases. There was no barrage of runs; we left twelve men on base and went four for twelve with runners in scoring position. There were only two multi-hit performances in the lineup: Papi went two for four and Crawford went three for four. But there were several heroes: Beckett for doing his job, the relief corps for preserving it, Scutaro and Papi for doubling, and Pedroia and Reddick for extending the game so we could get the win. It was a team effort. Honestly, I’m just thankful we gave Beckett some run support; he’s probably one of the least supported pitchers on our staff. As far as the Yankees are concerned, Rivera’s fourteen blown saves against us are far and away the most he has against any team. And of course a win is a win, and we won. I love beating the Yankees.