Thanks to Matsui, Red Sox Say “Sayonara” to Sole Possession of First Place

Matsui Hits Walkoff Homer as Yankees Beat Orioles and Tie Red Sox for First

Last night, the Yankees beat the Orioles in dramatic fashion by the score of 2-1 for the third game in a row. And thanks to the Texas Rangers, the Red Sox lost and have to share first with the Yankees; for now. But aside from Matsui’s big fly, there were many other things that led to the Yankee victory last night.

Pitching analysis: Andy Pettitte took the hill last night in search of his first win of the second half, and a confidence booster for himself. I’d say he has a lot to be proud of after his performance yesterday. 7 & 1/3 innings of 1 run ball is pretty fantastic!

In the first inning, leadoff man Brian Roberts drove a ball deep to left field, and I thought it was a homer for sure. But Damon caught it on the warning track. Then, Nick Markakis hit a home run to right center, and I was thinking, oh boy. This is how it’s gonna be.

But Andy settled down nicely, and that homer was the only run he gave up. There were a few other jams, though. In the top of the 3rd, Andy walked Matt Wieters to lead off the inning. Then Jose Molina let a ball get past him, allowing Wieters to go to second. Then I started thinkning about Cervelli again….Anyway, with a man on second, Izturis struck out, then so did Roberts, and Markakis flew out. So, Pettitte squeezed himself out of this jam.

In the top of the 5th, Nolan Reimold walked. Then Wieters got a hit, and Reimold went to third. But Andy got Cesar Izturis to strikeout for out #2, and Brian Roberts then flew out to Melky for the final out. Andy got out of it again!

     

Phil Coke came in to get the final two outs in the 8th, and did so with the help of incredible defense. Alfredo Aceves pitched the 9th and got himself a win.

Defensive analysis: This game was probably the best defensively played game I have seen in a lon while for the Yankees. The top of the 8th inning was just unbelievable. With runners on the corners and 1 out, the Yankees played the infield back, willing to give up the run for the out. Teixeira didn’t think so. Nick Markakis hit a hot-shot to Tex, and Izturis was breaking for home. Tex fired off balance a strike to Molina, who caught the ball snowcone style and held it for the tag. Izturis was out. Phil Coke was fired up!

He might have been too fired up. With Roberts at the plate, Coke threw a wild pitch, and this time Adam Jones tried to score. He was probably thinking that everything woud’nt go right for the Yankees again. Wrong! Molina made an excellent play as he retrieved the ball and threw it to Coke, who also did a great job of holding the ball and tagging out Jones. Out! Inning over! Talk about a momentum shifter!

              

Aside from the 8th, there was a lot of good defense for the Yanks last night. Jeter made a nice play in the 4th to get Mora out to end the inning. In the 6th, Andy induced a double play that Tex handled beautifully, doing something Giambi never could do. The 3-6-3 double play ended the inning. There was also a nice 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the 6th.

Offensive analysis: The Yankees wer actually out hit by the O’s 6-4 last night. But the Yankee’s hits were bigger. In the bottom of the 4th, Eric Hinske hit a bomb off the facing of the second deck in right to tie the score at 1. And in the bottom of the 9th, Hideki Matsui came through for a walkoff home run off of Jim Johnson. Yankees win! I think the play of the game was A.J. pieing (is that a word?) Matsui.

                                   ... as Hideki Matsui takes a pie to the face for his game-winning efforts.

The heroes last night were Andy Pettitte for his great job on the mound, Tex and Molina for their game-saving plays, and, oh yeah! Hideki Matsui for winning the game! Now tied for first, the Yankees are looking hot and feeling good. Let’s go get the Sox! Hurraaah!

 

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