Sunday, April 26, 2009

Red Sox Sweep Yankees, Win 10 in a Row & Ellsbury Steals Home

After starting out the season 2-6, the Boston Red Sox have won 10 straight games including a three game weekend sweep of the New York Yankees at Fenway Park.

On Friday, the Sox were down 4-2 in the bottom of the 9th with two outs when Jason Bay tied the game with a two run home run off Mariano Rivera to tie the game. Kevin Youkilis hit a walk off home run in the 11th for a 5-4 win.

Yesterday, the Sox were down 6-0 in the 4th inning. Hardly a safe lead at Fenway. The Sox scored eight unanswered runs off A.J. Burnett to take an 8-6 lead. Tito did leave Josh Beckett in too long and he gave up a game tying home run to Yankee turncoat Johnny Damon. But sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don't make. If the Red Sox had signed Mark Teixeira instead of the Yankees, Mike Lowell would have been dealt. Instead, Lowell is still at third base. He hit a three run home run to give the Sox back the lead. He drove in six runs in all and is leading the AL in RBI with 22. Sox won 16-11. This 9 inning affair took 4 hours and 21 minutes.

Yet tonight's game might have topped them all. There were no homeruns. The game took a little over three hours. It did feature three young pitchers - Justin Masterson, Hunter Jones and the major league debut of Michael Bowden. Yankees starter Andy Pettitte did pick off two runners.

But the highlight of the game, if not the whole series was Jacoby Ellsbury's straight steal of home. What a rousing ovation Ellsbury got. Straight steals of home almost never happen. In nearly thirty years of baseball I've only seen it in a minor league game before tonight. Pettitte and Yankees catcher Jorge Posada were asleep at the switch. Pettite was shaken while Posada barely stirred. ESPN analyst and Hall of Famer Joe Morgan said there was no excuse for it with a lefthanded batter (J.D. Drew) at the plate. Drew delivered a RBI double to put away the game. Sox won 4-1.

Although straight steals of home are rare it is not the first it has been done on Pettitte and Posada. In May 2007, Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill swiped home against them. However, unlike Ellsbury, there was a right-handed batter (Jason Phillips) at the plate and the play was much closer.

It's 80 plus degrees in Boston in April made only hotter by this sweep even a swim in Walden Pond can't cool down. Of course, winning streaks can't last forever but the Sox will try to extend their winning streak to 11 games tomorrow night in Cleveland against the Indians.

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