Yankees Giveth.....The Red Sox Taketh Away
Eighth inning magic and ninth inning pitching by the Darkman, Hideki Okajima, led the Boston Red Sox to a come from behind 7-6 victory over their hated rivals, the New York Yankees. 36,000 plus fans were sent home happy, walking on air with their heads inside cloud nine. And that eighth inning magic came against the best closer the game has ever seen, Mariano Rivera. That made the sweet even sweeter. The delicious more delectable. Here's a recap of the bottom of the eighth inning, from the Courant. Jeff Jacob's column is linked when you click on the title, but first........
"David Ortiz led off the eighth with a double off situational lefthander Mike Myers, then Luis Vizcaino walked Manny Ramirez. J.D. Drew moved the runners up with a groundout, and Mike Lowell scored Ortiz with a single to make it 6-3.
Yankees manager Joe Torre summoned Rivera for a five-out save, but by the time he got one out, the Red Sox had the lead. It was Rivera's first appearance since Sunday, when he allowed Marco Scutaro's walk-off three-run homer in Oakland.
"I really felt the inning he had to pitch was the eighth, because of everything that was going on," Torre said. "Every time we have a lead and he comes in and we don't have a lead when he gets off the mound, I'm always going to be shocked."
Jason Varitek singled to right to make it 6-4, then Coco Crisp pulled one down the right field line into the corner for a triple, allowing Lowell and Varitek to score and make it 6-6.
It was Crisp's first hit off Rivera in six career at-bats.
"We strung together some pretty good at-bats that inning," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. Alex Cora, the hitting hero in the ninth inning Thursday in Toronto, completed the comeback with a single to short left over a drawn-in infield, scoring Crisp to make it 7-6.
"I made my pitches," Rivera said. "Varitek hit a good pitch, Crisp hit a good pitch. And Cora ... they just found holes."
Peter here, and Mariano, those base hits found holes because they were hit so well. The pitches, at least the ones that turned into instant base hits, were over the plate with less than the normal "Mo" movement. 5 runs....7-6 Sox, and in from the bullpen, with Paps having thrown 47 pitches in the 2 preceding games, came the Darkman, Hideki Okajima, in the closer's role. And he earned the save, with AROD one of his conquests. And the Fenway Faithful went crazy. The NESN nuts too! I know. Last night I was a NESN nut! Thank you NESN HD....just like being there, almost. As close as one can get, but without the feel, the smells and the general sense of being a part of it by being RIGHT THERE. But it was fun, and that's an understatement.
So the Red Sox have won 8 of their last 10 and sit firmly and proudly atop the AL East. And although it's only April, some things are evident. The pitching is good, darn good, and can only get better when John Lester steps into the 5 spot of the rotation. The bullpen also has been great. Stand outs in the 'pen? The Darkman, Brendan Donnelly, Kyle Snyder and, of course, Jonathon Papelbon. Now if that injury bug that plagued the team last year, descimating all aspects of what was then a first place team, does not rear its ugly head, then the future is bright. And you know what? The future is NOW.
Fenway Park, today, at 3:55pm on Fox, pregame at 3:30. It will be the rookie Karstens versus the veteran Josh Beckett. GO SOX. This kind of baseball, with timely hittling and superb pitching, will take us far. And I, for one, am ready for that ride. Aren't you? Come with me! And as always, your comments are more than wanted, they're needed. And don't forget to click on the title of the post for Jeff Jacob's take on last night's game, centering on the incredibly hot start by AROD, and his last at bat, a failure. He's not a superman, but he HAS been swinging the bat like a super hero....for Yankee fans. We'll keep him off the basepaths this afternoon, with Josh NOT throwing too many fastballs, guessable fastballs. He's been so good so far. Keep it going Josh. RSN is watching, with support and love. And that love comes from ALL of us....forever.