Yesterday was one of those rare days during the regular season that baseball fans could just sit back and enjoy a wonderful coast-to-coast, day-night doubleheader, with both games having major playoff implications in the AL East pennant race.
The first game took place on an overcast day at Fenway Park between the Boston Red Sox, second in the AL East, and the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers.
This afternoon matchup set the tone beautifully for the nightcap of this great baseball day, between the first place in the AL East, New York Yankees, and the wild card hopeful Mariners in Seattle.
I settled in front of my television set, imagining I was sitting in one of those skyview box seats on top of the Green Monster, instead of just watching this great pitching matchup between Justin Verlander (12-6, 3.45) of the Tigers vs. the Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz (1-2, 5.33), in the comfort of my home on my MLB Extra Innings package.
The “Green Monster” in Fenway Park
There have been many great pitching performances throughout baseball of late, the most notable being the Perfect Game by Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox; all the brilliant performances during the just completed Yankees vs. Red Sox series, highlighted by the 0-0 pitching duel between Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett, that ended with a 15 innings, 2-0, Yankees victory; the 0-0 duel between Mark Buehrle and Felix Hernandez the other night, in which the Mariners defeated the White Sox, 1-0 in 14 innings; a fine effort by Cliff Lee (3-0) last night, one run in eight innings on the mound leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-1 victory; and, many other outstanding pitching performances.
And, to the above list can be added the excellent performances by Verlander and Buchholz in the Tigers 2-0 win over the Red Sox yesterday afternoon; and, CC Sabathia’s best start since signing with the Yankees, in the Bronx Bombers 11-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Verlander (13-6), delivered a masterful display of brilliance on the mound, throwing 123 pitches over eight solid innings, while allowing no runs; on only four hits; one walk; and eight strikeouts.
Justin retired 16 of the last 19 batters he faced, and was still firing the ball up to the plate at 100 mph in the eight inning. On this day, Mr. Verlander was just way too dominant as he over-powered the Red Sox hitters.
Clay Buchholz (1-3), also pitched a very good game, lasting seven innings, while giving up two runs (one earned); on five hits; three walks; and three strikeouts.
Both runs in this game were driven home by Ryan Raburn, on a single in the fourth, and a homer (#7) in the seventh inning. Fernando Rodney closed out this 2-0 Tigers victory by pitching a scoreless ninth inning recording his 24th save of the season.
This was a very big win for the Tigers (60-54), who remain in first place in the AL Central, two and a half games over the Chicago White Sox; and, also, it prevented an embarrassing four-game sweep at the hands of Boston (65-49).
The Red Sox are now six and a half games behind the Yankees (72-43), in the AL East.
CC In Control …
The second game of this day-night doubleheader started at 10:00 p.m ET in Seattle, with CC Sabathia (12-7, 3.76) of the Yankees, facing off against Ian Shell (2-8, 5.42) of the Mariners at Safeco Field.
In a very brisk 2 hours, 42 minutes game, the New York Yankees stroked 15 hits in route to an 11-1 bashing of the Mariners.
CC Sabathia was in total control and command on the mound all game, allowing only three hits — a single to Ichiro in the third inning; a solo homer to Josh Wilson (#1) in the fifth; and a single to Jack Hannahan in the eight — while walking two; and, striking out a season high 10 batters on the path to his 13th win this season.
Also, it must be noted, Jose Molina called a solid game behind the plate, giving a day of rest to Jorge Posada who caught the whole 11 innings in the Yankees 4-3 win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon.
The Yankees jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the second inning on a RBI double by Jerry Hairston, Jr, who was playing third in place of the injured Alex Rodriguez, and a wild pitch.
Then, the Bronx Bombers increased their lead to 5-0 in the third, on a lead off homer by Derek Jeter (#14); and, a two-run homer by Hideki Matsui (#18), that drove home Johnny Damon who doubled after the Jeter homerun.
In the fourth inning, Jeter singled and scored on a double by Mark Teixeira that upped the Yanks lead to 6-0.
CC allowed the only Mariner run on a homer to Josh Wilson in the fifth inning that made the score 6-1 at the time.
Ian Snell (0-1), was knocked out of the game in the top of the seventh after giving up a double to Damon and a walk to Teixeira, and was replaced by Garrett Olson.
The Bombers continued the pounding of the Mariners with a RBI single by Matsui; a RBI groundout by Melky Cabrera; and, a RBI single by Hairston that increased the Yankees lead to 9-1.
The Yankees completed the scoring in this game in the top of the eight on a single by Teixeira and a two run homer by Matsui (#19), his second home run of the game, that framed the Yankees 11-1 victory.
Hideki Matsui had his best performance of the year, belting out four hits in five at bats, including two homers; five RBI’s; and, four runs scored.
The Yankees attack also included two hits apiece from: Jeter, a homer and single; Damon, two doubles; Teixeira, a double and single and RBI; Cano, two singles; and, Hairston, Jr, a double and single, and two RBI’s. [Hairston has looked very impressive so far in his brief time on the team].
Brian Bruney closed out the Yankees victory with a very easy one-two-three 9th inning.
This victory was a great way for the New York Yankees to start their 10-game road trip.
All the baseball action continues tonight with Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.14) on the mound for the Yankees, against the Mariners Ryan Rowland-Smith (2-1, 3.86).
It was a beautiful day watching these two great baseball games; and, it is nice view, in first place on top of the AL East for all in the Yankees Universe.
— photo credits:
* google images
* http:// www. baseballpilgrimages .com
* http:// www. myredsoxtoday .com
* http:// www. andrewclem .com/baseball/photos
* http:// www. dahogan .com
— Jimmy, “BY&L”
Update: Saturday, August 15, 2009 …
Friday night’s Yankees and Red Sox games …
Yankees 4, Mariners 2 …
The pitching was great for both teams in this game, as Andy Pettitte threw one of his best games of the year for the New York Yankees, tossing 111 pitchers over six dazzling innings, allowing two runs, on six hits, one walk, and a season high “ten” strikeouts.
Pettitte was matched pitch for pitch by Seattle Mariners starter Ryan Rowland-Smith, who threw 99 pitchers over seven solid innings of work, while giving up two runs, on only three hits, two walks, and five strkeouts.
This game entered the top of the ninth inning tied 2-2 when Mark Teixeira broke the deadlock with a high arching homerun into the lower right field seats at Safeco Field that gave the Bombers a 3-2 lead. The homer was Teixeira’s 30th of the season.
After the Tex homer, Robinson Cano stroked an opposite field two-out double to left, and was driven home by Nick Swisher’s looping RBI single over the second baseman’s head for a very important insurance run and the 4-2 lead.
The Yankees bullpen took over for Pettitte in the seventh inning with Brian Bruney replacing Andy on the mound.
Bruney tossed a scoreless seventh inning; Phil Hughes (5-3), pitched a scoreless eight inning, although, did walk two batters before getting the final out on his second strikeout of the inning; and, then, The Great Mariano closed the door in the ninth, throwing three straight infield ground-outs that preserved the Yankees 4-2 victory. This was Mariano Rivera’s 34th save of the season.
The first place New York Yankees now have a record of 73-43 … [30 games over .500 for the first time this year]; and, have won 11 of their last 12 games; 35 of their last 46 games; and, are 22-6 since the All-Star break.
Red Sox 8, Rangers 4 …
In the first game of this big three-game series in Texas, the Red Sox scored six runs in the top of the ninth inning off Rangers closer Frank Francisco to win the game 8-4, and move one and a half games ahead of Texas in the American League wild-card race.
The Rangers took a 4-2 lead into the ninth. But, a big hit by Victor Martinez, a two-out, two-run double, that gave the Sox the 5-4 lead, and, a two-run homer by J.D. Drew that capped the scoring in the game, led the Red Sox to a huge come-from-behind 8-4 victory.
Michael Young supplied most of the offense for the Rangers, driving home three of the four runs, including a two-run homer off Boston starter Jon Lester in the first inning that gave Texas the early 2-0 lead.
The Red Sox now have a record of 66-49, and remain in second place in the AL East, six and a half games behind the Yankees.
— Jimmy, “BY&L”