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The Red Sox, somehow, some way, still had a heart beat entering Sunday’s game against the Yankees. The Sox were looking for a sweep of their rivals: a win would bring them to within 4.5 games of the Wild Card lead, while a loss would push them 6.5 back and likely out of postseason play.
Fast forward to the ninth inning, with the Red Sox down 2-1 after starter Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed a go-ahead, two-run HR to Alex Rodriguez. Joe Girardi called on Mariano Rivera to put the final nail into the Red Sox 2010 coffin. Perhaps Rivera couldn’t get the job done, or perhaps the Red Sox wanted it more. Either way, the Sox scratched and clawed in the ninth like they were down to their last out in the World Series.
Ryan Kalish singled, and then stole second and third base with one out. Bill Hall singled Kalish home, and the game was tied 2-2. Hall then stole second and third, and scored the go-ahead run when Mike Lowell hit a sac fly to center. The Red Sox had the lead, and the pressure was now on the Yankees to come back, and Jonathan Papelbon to slam the door shut.
Paps recorded the first out when Derek Jeter flied to right field. He then allowed two straight singles, and walked A-Rod with one of the tightest strike zones known to man. Despite that, Paps has to pitch better when the heat is on. With the bases loaded, he allowed a game-tying single to Robinson Cano before recording the final two outs to force extra innings.
It was one of those games you knew the Yankees would win eventually. It didn’t take long, as Hideki Okajima allowed two hits and an intentional walk to load the bases against pinch hitter Marcus Thames. It wasn’t very exciting, but Okie allowed a walk-off walk, and the Yankees were winners, 4-3.
Despite allowing a HR to A-Rod, Dice-K was outstanding against the Yankees. He allowed those two runs on just four hits and a walk in eight innings pitched. He also struck out 7.
This one stung. He blew his career-high eighth save this season. His ERA is currently a career-worst 4.02.
W: Boone Logan (2-0)
L: Hideki Okajima (4-4)