The chase for a postseason spot by the New York Yankees continues, coming off their series against the Boston Red Sox with two consecutive wins, including a 5-4 victory to clinch it thanks to two ninth-inning home runs from Mark Teixeira and Chase Headley, countering the big hitting of David Ortiz earlier in the game.
According to statistics and numbers, the Yankees have about a 3% chance of making the playoffs, even through the Wild Card. But there’s a chance, and we’ve seen plenty of late season collapsed for a 1000 and 1 reasons. Keeping their hopes and something of a momentum going is vital at this stage of the season, which often isn’t about overall quality of a team but the drive that pushes them into the postseason.
The Yankees finish their series against the Red Sox with a two-game winning streak and walk off homer to carry them into their series against the Kansas City Royals, who unlike the Red Sox, have a lot to play for, battling the Detroit Tigers for supremacy in the AL Central. The Yankees have the Tigers in their way to that Wild Card ticket: Detroit are four games ahead of them to enter the postseason.
This was a battle of home runs which the Yankees won in the end, but started out well for the Red Sox. David Ortiz hit a couple in the first and third innings to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead. It’s his fourth multiple-home run game against the Yankees since joining the Red Sox in 2003, tied for the most in that span along with Manny Ramirez and Evan Longoria. He has reached 32 this season, making it his best long-hitting season since 2010, and he might be even getting to his 2007 mark when he finished with 35 home runs.
The Yankees came back in the third inning with a 2-RBI double from Derek Jeter and a scoring single from Carlos Beltran, but the Red Sox got the upper hand again with a solo home run from Brock Holt, which also meant it was the end of the day for Chris Capuano, giving up four runs in his 4.1 innings. The Yankees used five relief pitchers after him, between them giving up just one hit.
So while the Bullpen did a steady, un-flashy work, the heroism awards go to the clutch hitting of Mark Teixeira and Chase Headley, both hitting home runs in the ninth inning, both coming off Koji Uehara who blew his fifth save of the season. Texeira tied the game with his 21st homer of the season, and his 4th career ninth inning (or later) game-tying home run.
For Headley it was his third walk-off home run of his career and his first since joining the Yankees. The Yankees have had six walk-off hits this season, all coming from players on their first year with the team: Headley, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Martin Prado.
You expected the magic moment, the big hit, the guy to get out of the jam,” he said. “You just kind of learn to expect it. Two home runs in the ninth — it used to happen a lot more. It’s a huge win. You feel like you kind of stole one.