|Game 24: April 29, 2007|
|Red Sox||7||W: Julian Tavarez (1-2)
H: Hideki Okajima (5)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (8)
|16-8, 1 game winning streak
6-2-1 series record
|Yankees||4||L: Chien-Ming Wang (0-2)||9-14, 1 game losing streak
2-6-1 series record
|Highlights: Alex Cora, who had never had a hit in Yankee Stadium, laced a two-run homer in the fifth for the lead. Tavarez notched his first win of the season; a fifth starter besting the Yankees’ ace of the moment demonstrated how this season is unfolding for the Bronx Bromides. Joe Torre was getting advice on his resume from Larry Bowa, Joe Kerrigan, and Tony Pena. For example, what do you do if no one from your previous position will act as your reference?|
The first inning, the first pitch he glimpsed, the first swing he took, David Ortiz knew the nanosecond the ball left his bat that he hit a home run. Manny Ramirez, Alex Cora, and the designated hitter made a triple decker hero sandwich on Sunday.
The Yankees showed signs of life in the third inning from an source as unlikely as Cora. Doug Mientkiewicz smacked his second home run of the season with Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano on the base paths. The sudden power surge gave the Yankees a brief claim on the lead.
Just two innings later Cora wrenched back the lead with an unexpected and go-ahead circuit clout of his own. Ramirez, trying to avoid another baserunning mishap like he had in fourth, would add to the lead in the eighth with a two-run shot of his own. The short porch giveth and the short porch taketh away.
The third featured exhilarating baserunning, to a point. Coco Crisp led off with a triple to the gap between center and left and he scored on Cora’s ground out to short. Julio Lugo blooped a single just outside of the dirt. He cannily advanced to third despite seeing that Kevin Youkilis’s single wasn’t deep. In a battle between Lugo’s legs and Johnny Damon’s arm, take the former.
Then Ortiz nubbed a ball just in front of home in what was effectively a bunt. As he lumbered down first, Lugo thought it was the ideal opportunity to poach a run, but Chien-Ming Wang backed up home. Mientkiewicz alertly threw to the plate and the inning died an abrupt death.
Hideki Okajima pitched two near-perfect innings, and his former Yomiuri Giants teammate grounded out to him to finish the sixth. “I’m willing to be a hero in the dark,” he said in this article on the official Red Sox website.
Without Okajima, we’d be seeing a lot more of Mike Timlin. This is not a good thing, as evidenced by Derek Jeter’s solo shot in the eighth, but Alex Rodriguez saved Timlin’s hide by grounding into a double play to end the eighth and pave the way for Jonathan Papelbon.
Although Papelbon gave up a leadoff double to Jason Giambi, the next three batters were neutralized with little fanfare, thus ending the latest chapter of this Bronx tale.