A-Rod’s walk-off shot ends instant classic
Yankees slugger drills two-run homer in 15th inning vs. Sox
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez delivered a game-winning two-run homer off Junichi Tazawa in the bottom of the 15th inning as the Yankees defeated the Red Sox, 2-0, in what can only be considered an instant Yankee Stadium classic.
Derek Jeter led off the frame with a bloop single into shallow right-center, and after a pair of outs, Rodriguez ended a career-high 72 at-bat homerless streak in his seventh plate appearance of the evening, driving in the only runs of the night with a rocket into the left-center-field bullpen.
The early-morning push came after J.D. Drew made a sensational catch to prolong the game in the 14th, and authored a finish to a contest that — through seven innings — featured an epic duel between A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett. The former teammates littered the scoreboard with zeroes, making August feel an awful lot like October.
Burnett allowed a single to the first batter he faced, Jacoby Ellsbury, on a ball that fell just shy of Nick Swisher’s diving grasp in right field. That was it, as Burnett clamped the Red Sox quiet with 7 2/3 innings of scoreless ball as he turned in arguably his best performance since signing with the Yankees.
He worked out of damage with the help of timely defense and big pitches — twice inducing double plays and pitching out of a two-on, none-out jam in the sixth. Burnett walked Ellsbury with his 118th and final pitch, walking off the field to a loud standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 48,262.
Ellsbury stole second base on a pitchout, moving the potential go-ahead run into second position, but Phil Hughes exhaled as Dustin Pedroia flied out to deep center, ending the inning. Mariano Rivera came on and worked the ninth inning against the heart of the Red Sox’s lineup, and Alfredo Aceves hurled three scoreless innings, allowing Brian Bruney and Phil Coke to set up the classic finish.
On the Boston side, Beckett showcased some of his sharpest stuff of the campaign, limiting the Yankees to four hits through seven innings and facing the minimum through the first four frames, walking two and striking out seven in a 115-pitch performance. Hideki Okajima recorded four outs and Daniel Bard pitched out of trouble in the ninth before Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen and Takashi Saito moved the game on to Tazawa.
I should have been at this game! Ah… it would have been bliss. 🙂
I can’t wait till I come home and go to a game (I’m currently in Atlanta getting my MBA at Emory University). I so can’t wait. I’ve been away for way too long…
It feels GREAT to be up ahead of the Sox by 4.5 games at the start of August. I LOVE IT!
Life rocks right now… can’t complain. Goooooooo Yankees!!!!!!!!! 😀