The Orioles won their 16th straight game in extra innings this afternoon in Boston.
The Yanks and A’s went to extra innings again. Cut to the end of the game when Raul Ibanez was gunned down at the plate trying to score on a ground ball to second base with one out in the 12th. Derek Jeter popped out to right to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded. The Yanks had gotten through three innings of Freddy Garcia killing ’em softly (Steve Pearce made a beautiful diving catch to rescue Garcia out of one jam) but gilded the lily bringing him back for a fourth. Jonny Gomes hit a two run jack, Yoenis Cespedes hit a bomb and even after Freddy left Chris Carter crushed one too.
The Yanks had used 16 position player and eight pitchers as they went to the bottom of the 13th. Ichiro singled against Pedro Figueroa and Alex Rodriguez followed suit with a base hit of his own. Robbie Cano got ahead in the count, 3-0, took a strike and another (the second one right down Broadway), then lined a single to left to load the bases.
Pat Neshek, a side-arming righty came in for Figueroa to face Eduardo Nunez. The first ball sailed wide, about a three feet outside as rain started to fall. Nunez waved at it but it got away from the catcher and Ichiro scored. He took a ball inside and then a strike and hit one to deep center. Cespedes made the catch and threw a bullet to third keeping Cano at second while Rodriguez scored.
Ibanez got ahead 2-0, then 3-1. Ibanez walloped the next pitch into the second deck in right field and the game was tied again.
Russell Martin grounded out and then Curtis Granderson launched the 0-1 pitch foul. It had the distance but he got out too far ahead of it. He fouled off three more pitches on a the way to a full count before grounding out. But the game was tied.
Now, the question was: who would pitch the 14th?
The man I suspected we wouldn’t see again this year. Cory Wade. Would you believe he got two weak ground outs and a fly ball to the warning track in center to work a scoreless inning?
A giant gasoline-throwing kid named Tyson Ross, wearing number 66, came on in relief for the A’s. The ninth pitcher of the day for Oakland. Eric Chavez fouled off a number of pitches, worked the count even and singled through the right side. Melky Mesa, making his major league debut, replaced Chavez at first. Hey, no pressure, kid.
Jeter bunted the first pitch in the air but it dropped in front of Ross and the sacrifice worked. The A’s had no intention of pitching to Ichiro–who had another three hits today–which put runners on first and second for Rodriguez.
First pitch, a change up or a slider, taken for strike one. Next pitch, he lines into center. And that’s the game.! Right? Wrong. Because Mesa missed the bag at third. He put on the brakes and went back. Bases loaded.
Got. To. Be.
Course Cano took some weak hacks, before he grounded a ball to Ross who got the force at home.
A loud Yankee Stadium was suddenly quiet.
Nunez hit a ball off the end of his bat to first. Brandon Moss reached for it and it kicked off his glove. Ichiro scored and the Yanks had their most improbable win of the year.
Excuse my French but: Fuck Yes. Grueling? Sure. But this one ended in pure elation.
Final Score: Yanks 10, A’s 9.
[Photo Credit: Kateopolis]