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Home » April 2009 Game CommentsApril 2009 » Titans


Game 16: April 24, 2009 ∙ 11 innings
Yankees4H: Jonathan Albaladejo (1)
BS: Mariano Rivera (1)
L: Damaso Marte (0-1)
9-7, 1 game losing streak
WinRed Sox5W: Ramon Ramirez (2-0)10-6, 8 game winning streak
Highlights: Eight innings of frustration culminated in Boston’s first walk-off home run this season. Rivera is all too familiar with this situation: of the 61 blown saves in his career, 12 of them have come against the Red Sox.

Every season it’s the same situation: two evenly matched combatants face off on an arena of green. In 2009, the similarity played out even to the teams’ records, both 9-6. What isn’t equal are their opening day payrolls. According to USA Today’s salary database, the Yankees actually trimmed their salary from $209M to a meager $201M between 2008 and 2009 while the Red Sox went from $133M to $121M.

Most times the game doesn’t live up the hype, but last night’s game was an instant classic. It made the hundreds of millions of dollars these players are paid just about worth it.

Boston shot out to an early lead on the fleet feet of Jacoby Ellsbury. After lining a single into right he advanced to second on a balk. Joba Chamberlain was exasperated by the call and sent the ball to the backstop. Ellsbury was already speeding to third and continued on towards home while Jose Molina tried to dig the ball out. Chamberlain was slow to cover home and nearly crushed Ellsbury under his bulk. It took just about the same amount of time for the ponderous pitcher to run 60 feet 6 inches as it did the zippy outfielder to cover 90 feet.

Runs would not come easy, however. Despite having the leadoff batter on base for the first five innings and loading the bases in the third and fourth innings, the Red Sox trailed until the ninth inning.

How unalike are Boston and Pittsburgh as baseball towns? In Pittsburgh, probably only Roberto Clemente or Willie Stargell have ever been cheered for as loudly as Fenway cheered for Jason Bay last night. His two-run home run sailed out over the juncture of the left and center field walls, taking with it the accumulated vexation of innings of lack of offense.

With Mariano Rivera out of the game and the vulnerable underbelly of the Yankees’ bullpen thus exposed, it was only a matter of outs that the Red Sox would win. Who would be the hometown hero?

Fittingly, it was Chamberlain’s bête noire, Kevin Youkilis, who shattered the stalemate. His eleventh-inning home run was his fifth of the season. Right from the sound of the crack of the bat everyone watching knew that the game was over, the rapturous sound of Red Sox victory and Yankee futility.

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