As the Baltimore Orioles somehow won a 1-0 game after striking out 15 times and getting only two hits, the New York Yankees were finding it difficult to score through the first nine innings despite eleven hits. Down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium it all changed quickly as Curtis Granderson singled to open the frame and then pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez lined a missile into the right field seats to tie the game at three. Ibanez then finished it off in the twelfth inning with a two-out seeing-eye single to give the Yankees the victory.
The Yankees (94-67) maintain a one game lead over the Orioles with just one game left on the schedule. The Yankees got off to a rocky start behind rookie starter David Phelps.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia were back in the lineup and immediately made a difference with single and a double respectively for Boston’s first run in the opening frame. They scratched across the second run with a ground out and a sac fly from Cody Ross.
From that point Phelps, who replaced Ivan Nova as the starter, was excellent going 5 1/3 and not allowing another run and only one more hit for the rest of his time on the mound.
The Yankees managed their first run in the second on a RBI-single by Eduardo Nunez who was in the lineup as the DH with lefty Jon Lester on the mound. It looks like the Andruw Jones project is finally over as Nunez went 2-for-3 on the night.
Nunez was lifted for Ibanez in the ninth inning as Andrew Bailey was on to try and close out the Yankees having allowed a single to Granderson with no one out. Ibanez drilled the 1-2 offering into the seats for the tying homer. Of Ibanez’s 19 homers this season, 10 have either tied the score or given the Yankees the lead.
The Yankees and Red Sox exchanged zeroes for the next 2 1/2 innings. Derek Lowe, who was excellent in relief, got the win after Rafael Soriano tossed the ninth and tenth innings, registering 42 pitches. In the bottom of the 12th, Francisco Cervelli drew a two-out walk and then Granderson coaxed one as well to move Cervelli into scoring position. Up came Ibanez, this time with the chance to win the game, and he came through once again with a single through the infield.
Today, in the final game of the regular season the Yankees send Hiroki Kuroda (15-11, 3.34 ERA) to the hill to face Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-6, 7.68 ERA). A Yankees win gives them the AL East title and home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. A Baltimore loss ensures the Bombers of the East title as well. Should the Yankees lose and the Orioles win the teams will play a one-game playoff on Thursday.