Tagged: Marcus Thames

Roll camera, on your mark, ACTION!…

The Dawn of the Baseball Winter Meetings…

This week is always the most eventful one of the entire off-season.  A flurry of activity followed by relative silence as we head into the holidays.

hal-steinbrenner-brian-cashman

Credit:  AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Before the meetings start later this evening, the Yankees have already lost one option with Houston’s free agent signing of former Yankee Carlos Beltran.  I had mixed feelings about his possible return to New York.  He was arguably the team’s best hitter last season but he is also 40 years old.  For a team that has aggressively gotten younger, adding “old” does not necessarily make sense.  There is no guarantee that Beltran will be as good as last year, and it’s a near impossibility that he’d be better.  Going with older veterans, I’d rather sign either Matt Holliday or Mike Napoli to a short-term deal that keeps the Yankees on the right path toward World Series contention in 2018 or 2019.

Back in the old days under George Steinbrenner, I am sure that both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista would be Yankees by now.  Of the two, I’d prefer Encarnacion but I don’t feel the Yankees should lock up huge long-term dollars for either player even if it would severely weaken the Toronto Blue Jays in the short run.  In a couple of years, they’ll just be over-paid, under-producing aging veterans.  We’ve seen enough of those in recent seasons.

12alexk-blog480

Credit:  Reuters/Ray Stubblebine

There are unofficial reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers have a deal in place with starter Rich Hill so that’s one less option on the pitching front.  A deal with Jason Hammel probably makes the most sense.  I like Hammel as a reliable, back of the rotation guy.  He would be a good complimentary piece to Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda as the team looks to fill other pitching spots with youth.  I would probably take a chance with either C.J. Wilson or Tyson Ross if given the opportunity.

It’s possible that GM Brian Cashman can uncover a quality arm via trade but it’s a virtual certainty the team won’t be involved in the Chris Sale sweepstakes.  Sale alone would not make the Yankees an immediate World Series contender and he would cost the best quality of the farm system to acquire.  So, the Yankees need to stay the course as they continue to add the pieces for future success.

I was disappointed to see minor league hitting coordinator James Rowson leave the organization.  I am happy to see him return to the major leagues as the hitting coach for the Minnesota Twins, however, I thought he would have been a better hitting coach for the Yankees than current hitting coach Alan Cockrell or assistant hitting coach Marcus Thames.  When the Yankees had dismissed Jeff Pentland last year, I was hopeful that Rowson would get the job.  It was not meant to be.  I think he’ll be a good addition to Paul Molitor’s staff in Minneapolis and should help former Yankee and current Twins’ co-catcher John Ryan Murphy to hit again.

I remain hopeful the Yankees re-sign pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Jacob Lindgren* as they recover from Tommy John surgery.  Granted, neither pitcher will help in 2017 but I would really prefer to see them stay.

Let’s hope this week brings good news for Yankees fans…

—Scott

 

*Several hours after this post, the Atlanta Braves announced they’ve signed Lindgren to a one year deal that will allow them to retain rights to Lindgren if they add him to their 40-man roster.

The Perfect Formula, plus a Red Sox Loss!…


Yankees Win + Rays Loss = 1 Game Lead in AL
East!…


Yankees win.JPG

 

Finally, after 8 days, the Yankees were able to
shake the Rays for at least a day with a 9-2 win over the Oakland A’s in the
Bronx on Tuesday night.  The Rays started
strong against the pesky Toronto Blue Jays, but they saw a 3-1 lead erased when
the Jays scored 10 runs in the 6th inning to win going away,
13-5.  So, the Yankees are 82-50 while
the Rays are 81-51.  Meanwhile, the
Boston Red Sox fell to the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 so it was a very good night!



The New York Yankees beat the Oakland A's 9-3 at Yankee Stadium.

John Munson/The Star Ledger


 

I was toggling back and forth on MLB Radio between
the Yankees and Rays games and I think I missed about a dozen runs scoring
between both games.  I was very surprised
about the ineffectiveness of the Rays’ Jeff Niemann.  He has been roughed up in both games he’s
pitched since his return from the DL.  As
for the Yankees, it was painful with Phil Hughes on the mound, given his
inability to throw strikes.  Of 98
pitches, only 52 were strikes, resulting in 5 walks in 5 innings.  However, he was able to last long enough to
pick up his 16th win of the season. 



Phil Hughes

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 


The only surprise of tonight’s game was that Marcus
Thames didn’t homer.  He had homered in
his 5 previous consecutive games.  It
will be interesting to see what happens when Lance Berkman returns from the
DL.  I’d be surprised if the Yanks sat
Thames given his hot bat, but it would be sad to see a great player like
Berkman on the bench.  I am glad that I
don’t have to make Joe Girardi’s decisions.



Marcus Thames Yankees tight file

Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger

 


It was great seeing Mark Teixeira back in the
lineup, especially after he hit his 30th home run of the
season. 



Teixeira, August 31

David Pokress/Newsday/MCT


The Yankees are close to returning to full strength
as Alex Rodriguez should be back on the field on Sunday.  Of course, with a 16-3 record, the Yankees
haven’t exactly missed A-Rod in the win column. 
Still, it will be nice to have Berkman, A-Rod, and Andy Pettitte back in
action as the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox head for the stretch run.



 


On a side note, I was disappointed the Los Angeles
Dodgers pulled back pitcher Ted Lilly after he was claimed on waivers by the
Yankees.  With the pitching struggles of
Javier Vazquez and A.J. Burnett, it would have been nice to have a security
blanket like Lilly around.  Plus, he know
New York and that’s hard experience to find.



 


Oh well, time to protect that one game lead…

 

–Scott

Time To Step It Up…

 

Whew, a series win!…



 


The Yankees were able to pull out a series win over
the Chicago White Sox, thanks to the great pitching of rookie Ivan Nova.  Nova, who won his first major league game,
went 5 2/3 innings, giving up only one run and give hits.  He walked one and struck out 7 White Sox
batters, and got help from the bullpen as the Yankees defeated the White Sox
2-1 on Sunday.



New York Yankees starter Ivan Nova shuts down the White Sox as the Bombers and Curtis Granderson (below) upend Chicago.

Huh/AP

 

The series started with a loss on Friday night, as
Chicago drubbed the Yanks, 9-4.  It was
another pathetic performance by A.J. Burnett, who is making the remaining years
on his contract look very painful for the Yanks at this point.  It’s a difficult situation because the
Yankees do need him to win in October, so it is imperative for A.J. to put
August behind him and return to pitching like he did late last year.



New York Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett is 0-9 combined in the months of June and August.

Arbogast/AP

 


In Saturday’s game, CC Sabathia didn’t have his
best stuff but didn’t need it as the Yanks put their bats on display in the
12-9 win.  They had a big lead and had to
hold on late, but it still went in the win column. 

 

The series MVP was clearly Marcus Thames, who
homered three times in the series including two on Saturday and once on
Sunday.  He struck out in his only
appearance on Friday night, but clearly made up for it as he figured heavily
into both Yankee wins.  At a time when
Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Lance Berkman are on the sidelines, you need
for others to step up and Thames certainly answered the call.  



0828thames.JPG

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT



Other heroes of the past three days include Nova for his great pitching on
Sunday, Mariano Rivera for just being himself in picking up two saves, and 
Eduardo Nunez who had 4 RBI’s on Saturday. 



New York Yankees third baseman Eduardo Nunez gives thanks after hitting a two-run homer against the Chicago White Sox. Mark Teixeira (b.) is not sure whether he'll play Sunday with a bruised thumb.

Smierciak/AP

 


I wasn’t pleased to hear that Major League Baseball
is investigating Ivan Nova and pitcher Wilkin De La Rosa for allegedly
injecting each other B-12 shots at Double AA Trenton last season.  Hopefully, the investigation will prove no
wrongdoing on Nova’s part and the substance was purely B-12, which is not a
banned substance. 

 

It will be interesting to see what changes in the
rotation manager Joe Girardi makes upon the impending return of Andy
Pettitte.  Javier Vazquez and A.J.
Burnett are clearly the more accomplished and experienced starters, however,
they have been unable to match the recent consistency of Dustin Moseley and
Ivan Nova.   I remain hopeful that Vazquez and Burnett will
return to the success they achieved earlier in the season, but for now, it is
good to know that others are there to help the team during times of
trouble. 

 

Mark Teixeira has missed some playing time the past
few days with a bruised hand, but hopefully, he’ll be back when the Yankees
return to the Bronx on Monday night to face the Oakland A’s.  With A-Rod (and Lance Berkman) still
sidelined, the Yankees definitely need Teixeira’s bat in the lineup.  As the calendar prepares to change to
September, it’s time for the team to get on a roll and Tex is obviously a key
ingredient.

 

Congratulations to Albert Pujols for his 400th
home run last night.  He is definitely
moving into the land of Legends, and we’ll look back one day and be very
appreciative that we were able to see him play. 
As much as the media would love to see Albert play in New York, I feel
that it is only right for the St. Louis Cardinals to find a way to ink their
superstar to a long-term deal.  I
remember attending my first major league game as a kid at the old Busch Stadium
and running into former Cardinal great Stan Musial.  Musial means so much to the Cardinals
organization, and of course, Pujols is in the same category.  It would be wrong to see him wear anything
other than a Cardinals uniform.



Hitting .321 with 45 homers and 120 RBI through Wednesday's action, Albert Pujols is once again in the middle of the NL MVP race.

Scott Rovak/US Presswire

 


I can’t believe that I am actually pulling for the
Tampa Bay Rays to win tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox (which would
keep the Yankees in a first place tie with the Rays).  But then again, there is simply no way to
pull for the Red Sox…

 



–Scott


 

What Happened Tuesday Night?…

 

Mo showed why he is great…



Perfection.JPG

 


A day after losing a game in walk-off fashion to
the Texas Rangers, Mariano Rivera bounced back to save the Yankees’ 7-6 comeback
victory over the Rangers.  So many
relievers have a tough time “forgetting yesterday”, but not Mo.  After allowing a lead-off triple to Elvis
Andrus, he retired the next three batters to strand Andrus at third with what
would have been the tying run. 

 

When Austin Kearns bounced into a double play with
the bases loaded to end the top half of the 8th inning with the
score 6-5 Texas, I thought the Yankees may have exhausted their chances for
victory.  However, or rather , fortunately,
Marcus Thames proved me wrong.  He
homered in the 8th, and drove in the eventual winning run in the 9th.  Not bad for a guy who gets mentioned as an
afterthought when you name off Yankee players.  



Yankees Rangers Baseball

AP


I am a bit disappointed with Kearns, who has failed to hit in key
situations since his arrival in the Bronx. 
But to his credit, he did make a great shoestring catch in the 9th
in helping Mo to the save. 

 

The other two recent acquisitions, Kerry Wood and
Lance Berkman, both played roles in Wednesday’s win.  Wood pitched the 7th and 8th
innings in scoreless relief to pick up his first win as a Yankee.  Berkman drove in a run in the 7th
on a ground rule double as the Yankees chipped away at what once had been a 6-1
Texas lead.  Berkman, it should be noted,
was the only Yankees starter who did not strike out on a night when 17 Yankees
did, tying the dubious franchise record. 
Nick Swisher, in particular, was an awful 0-for-5, with 4 SO’s.

 

Javier Vazquez, who had recently been diagnosed
with a “dead arm”, was very ineffective in the match-up against the almost
Yankee, Cliff Lee.  Javy was out after 4 1/3
innings after he gave up 6 runs.  I am
not quite sure what it will take to get Javy back to the level of pitching he
was at last month, but he needs to improve if the Yankees intend to hold off
the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox.  



0812javy.JPG

Matthew Emmons/US Presswire



Meanwhile, Cliff Lee was solid in striking out 11 Yankees although the Yankees were able to score against him late as he gave up a total of 4 runs through 6 1/3 innings.  I remain hopeful that Lee will be the Yankees prime target in the free agent market after the season. 



The Rangers turn to Cliff Lee to get a mini sweep over the New York Yankees tonight on ESPN. 

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images



The Yankees were fortunate to get a win out of a
two game series that looked like it would be a sweep for Texas.  The Rays lost to the Detroit Tigers, but the
Boston Red Sox steamrolled over the team that gave the Yankees and Rays so much
trouble, the Toronto Blue Jays.  For all
of the key injuries Boston has suffered this year, they are within striking
distance at just 5 games back.



Bill Hall (right), who had two home runs, celebrates his second blast with teammate Ryan Kalish in the fourth inning.

Mark Blinch/Reuters

 


The series in Texas was tough.  It started with news that hot-hitting Mark
Teixeira would remain in New York with his wife, who gave birth to their third
child, William Charles.  I hated to see
the removal of Teixeira’s bat from the lineup, and it was compounded when
Robinson Cano couldn’t start the first game of the series due to illness
(although he did later pinch hit and entered the game as a replacement at 2nd
late in the game despite his weakened condition).  Jorge Posada also missed the game, so those
were three huge voids in the lineup. 

 

The Yankees now head for Kansas City for a
four-game set against the Royals. 
Teixeira will rejoin the team, and should be in the lineup tonight.  On paper, tonight’s game looks like a
mismatch (CC Sabathia versus Bruce Chen), however, the Yankees have not been
playing great ball lately.  They missed a
great opportunity to bury both the Rays the Red Sox and couldn’t do it.  Hopefully, the team can catch fire soon and
put the pressure on the other teams instead of carrying the weight on their own
shoulders.


–Scott



 

 

 

 

 

A Day Filled with Fireworks!…

Welcome back, Marcus Thames!…

 

 

thames_mills_yanks.jpg

Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger

 

Despite a brief time away (trip to the DL), Marcus Thames made the most of his return to the team with a pinch-hit run-scoring single to drive in the winning run in the Yankees’ 7-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.  Nothing like July 4th and a day at Yankee Stadium to celebrate Thames return with a little pie…

 

 

Yanks beat Blue Jays, 7-6, on Marcus Thames RBI single

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

 

The Yankees had taken the early lead in the game, but the continued struggles of Phil Hughes allowed the Jays to go ahead in the top of the 5th.  The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the 6th with a two-run inside-the-park home run by speedy Brett Gardner. 

 

The Yankees took the lead in the bottom of the 7th, but like recent games, the bullpen was not up to the task.  However, this time, the game tying run was not scored against Damaso Marte or Joba Chamberlain, but against Mariano Rivera in the 9th.   With go-ahead run on third, Alex Gonzalez grounded into a force out to end the threat.  The Yankees failed to score in the bottom of the frame, so it was off to extra innings.

 

Like the inning before, the Blue Jays had their chances in the 10th.  With David Robertson starting the inning in relief of Rivera, he allowed the first two hitters to reach base (a single and a walk).  The next batter, Edwin Encarnacion grounded into a double play on a bunt attempt, which pushed the go-ahead run to third.  Robertson intentionally issued a free pass to Lyle Overbay, who had homered earlier in the game, before getting former Yankee Jose Molina to strike out. 

 

So, it was off to the bottom of the 10th.  As usual, Robinson Cano was involved in the action as he walked to lead things off.  He was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Francisco Cervelli.  Curtis Granderson struck out, but Brett Gardner reached base on a two-out walk.  Up to the plate came Marcus Thames, who had just been re-activated from the DL.  Thames worked the count full before slashing a hit to center to score Cano with the winning run.  Welcome back, Marcus, you’ve been missed! 

 

 

Uli Seit/The New York Times

 

 

It was an exciting day for the Yankees, particularly since the Boston Red Sox were losing to the Baltimore Orioles.  It would have been nicer for Hughes and Mo to post more memorable appearances on the day they were selected to the All-Star team, but of course, being an All-Star is not about one game.   

 

When American League manager Joe Girardi takes the field at the All-Star Game in Anaheim on July 13th , he’ll have plenty of familiar faces joining him (and Hughes and Rivera as previously mentioned) as MLB announced the following Yankees had made the All-Star team:

 

Derek Jeter

Robinson Cano

Alex Rodriguez

CC Sabathia

Phil Hughes

Mariano Rivera

 

 


Congrats.JPG

 

Jeter and Cano are starters, Jeter’s 11th All-Star appearance and Cano’s second.  Rodriguez was tabbed as a reserve by Girardi primarily since A-Rod is third in the AL with RBI’s at 62 (behind fellow All-Stars Vladimir Guerrero and Miguel Cabrera). 

 

The Yankees have a chance for a 7th All-Star with Nick Swisher in the running for the Final Vote.  Special voting is open until Thursday at 4 pm Eastern.  Swish faces steep competition from Kevin Youkilis (Boston), Delmon Young (Minnesota), Michael Young (Texas), and Paul Konerko (Chicago). 

 

Congratulations to all of the AL and NL All-Stars! 

 

Well, alas, it is once again time for the “forced” spotlight on a Boston Red Sox player (thanks to my wager loss to Julia of Julia’s Rants).  Before, I embark on yet another painful journey, I do have to say that I am quite amazed at what the Red Sox have been able to do (within striking distance of the AL East lead) with a disabled list that looks like an All-Star team:

 

Disabled List

NO.

NAME

POS

BAT

THW

AGE

HT

WT

BIRTH PLACE

SALARY

19

Josh Beckett DL

SP

R

R

30

6-5

220

Spring, TX

$12,100,000

17

Manny Delcarmen DL

RP

R

R

28

6-2

205

Boston, MA

$905,000

2

Jacoby Ellsbury DL

LF

L

L

26

6-1

185

Madras, OR

$496,500

32

Jeremy Hermida DL

LF

L

R

26

6-3

200

Atlanta, GA

$3,345,000

25

Mike Lowell DL

DH

R

R

36

6-3

210

San Juan, Puerto Rico

$12,500,000

41

Victor Martinez DL

C

B

R

31

6-2

210

Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela

$7,700,000

15

Dustin Pedroia DL

2B

R

R

26

5-9

180

Woodland, CA

$3,750,000

33

Jason Varitek DL

C

B

R

38

6-2

230

Rochester, MI

$3,000,000

 

 

I also read today that All-Star Clay Buchholz is most likely headed for the DL.  I may not be a fan of the Red Sox but I am not a fan of these injuries.  Hopefully, these guys will return to health in the near future.  In the meantime, I’m sure the Red Sox will keep knocking on the door. 

 

For the latest installment, I will go with one of the so-called replacement players who has done a good job helping to fill in for the loss of left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (and Mike Cameron when he was out)….

 

 

#54        Darnell McDonald

 

 

Courtesy of The Boston Herald

 

 

I can remember when Darnell and his older brother, Donzell, were highly touted youths with the Orioles and Yankees, respectively.  Neither materialized with their respective teams, and I had long forgotten the McDonald brothers when Darnell’s contract was purchased from AAA Pawtucket in April when Ellsbury went to the DL.  He had been signed as a minor league free agent in January.  Julia was very quick to inform me when McDonald homered in his first at bat with the Red Sox.  He has done a capable job since he joined the Red Sox (5 home runs, 20 RBI’s, and .260 batting average).   

 

Darnell played high school baseball with Cherry Creek High School in Denver, Colorado.  He was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles in 1997.  He would stay in the minors for the duration of his Orioles career, enjoying only a brief call up in 2003.  His stops between Baltimore and Boston included the Minnesota Twins and the Cincinnati Reds.  He hit his first major league home run on August 30, 2009 against Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

 

At 31 years of age, Darnell is enjoying the greatest stretch of his professional career.  He showed that he was a wise off-season acquisition by GM Theo Epstein who is notorious for the low cost, high upside approach to free agency.  He has believed in the dream since his days as one of the best high school players in the nation, and it is finally happening for him in Boston. 

 

So, whatever happened to brother and former Yankee Donzell?   He currently plays for Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League. 

 

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

 

–Scott

 

 

What Have You Done For Me Lately…

 

The agony of defeat…

 

 

Agony of Defeat.JPG

 

 

It’s amazing how you can go from a very high “high” to a very low “low” in 24 hours.  A night after a walk-off home run by Marcus Thames, he was a goat in last night’s 7-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox.  His drop of Marco Scutaro’s fly ball in the 9th inning was a crucial blow that set the stage for Jeremy Hermida’s two-run double that gave Boston the runs it would need to win.

 

 

thames0519.JPG

Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger

 

 

There were several goats in this loss.  Thames didn’t shoulder the blame alone.  You really have to start with the awful performance by Joba Chamberlain.  On Sunday, he allowed the floodgates to open for the Twins and the momentum crushed Mariano Rivera.  In many ways, it happened again last night.  Chamberlain didn’t allow the runs in the 9th (Rivera did), however, the Red Sox had clearly taken the momentum of the game with the 4 run 8th inning to tie the score.  I could tell after a couple of batters that Joba didn’t have it last night, but manager Joe Girardi stuck with Chamberlain to erase the 5-1 advantage.

 

 

New York Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain (c.) gives up four innings in the eighth inning.

Keivom/NY Daily News 

 

The Yankees had their chance for late inning heroics but this time Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon closed the door.  The Yanks were able to pick up a run on a Robinson Cano double in the bottom of the 9th.  However, with the game-tying and game-winning runs on 2nd and 3rd, Juan Miranda grounded out and Randy Winn struck out to end the game.

 

 

Jonathan Papelbon 

Boston Globe

 

 

The Yankees (25-14) fell another game behind the Tampa Bay Rays with the loss.  The Rays, who are in town for a two-game series before the start of the weekend’s matchup against the Mets, beat the Cleveland Indians, 6-2 and are now 28-11.  Unless Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera can return the bullpen to a strength, the series against the Rays will be very difficult to win.  It’s too bad that a very strong performance by CC Sabathia was wasted last night,  The Yanks could have used it against the Rays.  Let’s hope that A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte are up to the task.

 

 

A.J. Burnett gets six-game ban for throwing at Rangers' Nelson Cruz Tuesday.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

On the bright side, I did somehow manage to win the latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  After the Sox had taken the 7-5 lead, we were tied with total runs (16 runs for both teams).  But Cano’s 9th inning RBI gave the Yankees a total of 17 runs, so I won on that basis despite the split of the two-game series.  So, stay tuned for a post by Julia which will detail the Yankees’ first World Series championship.  She has assured me that she will use as few words as possible!  Of course, I say when is Julia ever at a loss for words!

 

 

 

It was not a particularly good night for me as the San Jose Sharks lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2, to fall behind 2 games to none in the NHL Western Conference Finals.

 

 

Mercury News 

 

 

At least Lee Dewyze gave a masterful performance on the American Idol stage so the night wasn’t a total loss.  His rendition of Hallelujah clearly set him apart from his competition (Crystal Bowersox and Casey James), and as Randy Jackson says, he’s in it to win it.  Unless American Idol is nothing more than a popularity contest, Casey James should be heading back to Texas tonight for an AI final pitting Bowersox against Dewyze.  It should be a great one!

 

 

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This…

The thrill of victory…

 

Marcus Thames (right) hit a walkoff home run in the ninth inning to lift the Yankees to an 11-9 victory over the Red Sox Monday at Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox trailed much of the game, but rallied to take a 9-7 lead in the eighth. Then the Yankees tied the score in the ninth on Alex Rodriguez's two-run home run, setting up Thames' heroics.

Kathy Willens/AP

 

 

It’s always nice when the Yankees can snatch a win from the jaws of defeat.  After blowing early 5-0 and 6-1 leads, the Yankees found themselves looking up to the Boston Red Sox on the scoreboard at 9-7 in the 9th inning.  On a night when Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson were unavailable, the bullpen was horrific.  Phil Hughes was not good in his worst start of the season, but he left with a lead which the Yankees failed to keep.  Chan Ho Park, forced to go two innings by the depleted pen and fresh off the DL, gave up two home runs to give Boston its 2-run advantage headed into the 9th inning.  With the Red Sox threatening to score in the top of the 9th with two outs, manager Joe Girardi called on Javier Vazquez to secure the final out.  He was up to the task, as he struck out Kevin Youkilis with runners at first and third.

 

Javier Vazquez pitches to one batter to pick up the win against the Boston Red Sox on Monday.

Antonelli/New York Daily News

 

So, the drama was set for the bottom of the 9th.  Brett Gardner doubled to start the inning, and was on third following a fly out when Alex Rodriguez came to the plate.  He jumped on the first pitch and deposited the ball in the left center seats to tie the game. 

 

 

The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez tosses his bat after hitting a game-tying two-run homer off Jonathan Papelbon in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Mike Segar/Reuters

 

The next hitter (Robinson Cano) flied out for the second out, but Francisco Cervelli was hit by a pitch to bring Marcus Thames up for his opportunity.  The man who homered off of Randy Johnson for his first major league home run found this night would be the most magical of his career.  There was no doubt when Thames blasted Jonathan Papelbon’s pitch to left for the game-winning, walk-off two-run home run.  No pies were safe following the game…

 

 

New York Yankees outfielder Marcus Thames is the victim of the season's first cream pie as his Yankee teammates (b.) wait for him to come home after his two-run homer in the ninth inning.

Sipkin/New York Daily News

 

 

It was a great night, and a very much needed win following the meltdown against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday (when Mariano Rivera gave up a bases-loaded walk followed by a grand slam to lose the game).  It was tremendous to see Marcus Thames have his moment at the Stadium and for Javy Vazquez to get the win with just four pitches.

 

 

VICTORIOUS! Marcus Thames (above, center) is congratulated by his teammates at home plate after his walk-off two-run home run during the ninth inning of the Yankees' 11-9 victory over the Red Sox. Thames got the customary cream pie after the game. ,

AP

 

 

Today’s game, the conclusion of the two-game series, pits Josh Beckett against CC Sabathia.  It should be a thrilling game!  But then again, aren’t they all at Yankee Stadium?  J

 

Wager Score:  Scott 1, Julia 0!  And oh yeah Julia, the Los Angeles Lakers won!  

 

Lakers are off to a scorching start in Western Conference finals against Suns

LA Times