Monday, September 26, 2011
The Boston Red Sox had a nine game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays on September 4. After the Rays beat the Yankees and the Red Sox lost to the Orioles Monday night the two teams were in a perfect tie in the wild card race at 89-71.
James Shields came within one out of a complete game in a 5-2 win over the Yankees. He scattered six hits and a pair of Robinson Cano RBI, including the second baseman's 28th home run of the year. The Rays offense took advantage of inexperienced Hector Noesi, who made just his second big league start. Just like his first start, Noesi didn't make it out of the 3rd inning.
B.J. Upton's 2-run double in the 3rd tied the game at 2-2 and Johnny Damon put Tampa ahead for good with an RBI single. The Rays added tack on runs in the 4th, on a Kelly Shoppach home run off lefty Raul Valdes, and a Damon sac fly in the 7th.
The Yankees had a mild chance in the 9th when Alex Rodriguez reached on an Evan Longoria error, but Jorge Posada bounced into a double play. When Shields walked Eric Chavez, manager Joe Maddon went to closer Kyle Farnsworth, who retired pinch-hitter Jesus Montero on a game ending ground out.
Meanwhile up in Baltimore, the Orioles and Red Sox were tied 2-2 in the 6th as Baltimore's Tommy Hunter kept pace with the much more heralded Josh Beckett. Chris Davis then put Baltimore ahread with an RBI double and set the stage for Robert Andino.
Last week Andino killed the Red Sox when he cleared the loaded bases with a double of Jonathan Papelbon to send Boston to another loss. Andino struck again tonight when he drove a deep fly to center field with two aboard. Jacoby Ellbsury leaped, had the ball, but lost the ball when he crashed into the wall. Both base runners scored easily and Andino raced aroud the bases for an inside-the-park-home-run and a 6-2 Orioles lead.
Boston cut it to 6-3 in the 9th and had the tying run at the plate in the person of Adrian Gonzalez. Closer Jim Johnson got Gonzalez to fly out and then struck out Jed Lowrie swinging to end the game and erase the Red Sox wild card lead.
Russell Martin was ejected from the Yankees game after a pitch from Hector Noesi was called a ball. Martin made a wisecrack to home plate ump Paul Schrieber who tossed him.
Courtesy of Dellin Betances - the Yankees rookies took their annual hazing Monday night. That's Andrew Brackman and Betances as Milli Vanilli, George Kontos as one half of WHAM, Hector Noesi as Prince, Austin Romine as Madonna, Jesus Montero as MC Hammer (looks more like the Indian from the Village People), and Brandon Laird as Slash. (Thanks to Marc Carig for filling in some of the blanks)