GAME 13 : Yankees starter Ivan Nova‘s solid, bounce-back performance was almost an afterthought in a wild game that featured injuries, replay challenges, a manager ejection, uncommon double-plays, loud home runs, and a spectacular catch on top of the standard Yankees-Red Sox drama. Nova finished with a line of 7 1/3, 8 hits, 2 ER, and 4 strikeouts, lowering his ERA from 9+ to 5.94, and improving his record to 2-1.
Nova was lifted after retiring Boston SS Xander Bogaerts to start the 8th, giving way to Matt Thornton to face David Ortiz — who drilled a rocket to right that Ichiro elevated to grab, making a spectacular catch.
Manager Joe Girardi then handed the ball to David Phelps.
After a double, walk and hit bats-man, Boston loaded the bases against Phelps. With the game on the line in a dramatic 9 pitch at-bat against pinch-hitter Mike Carp, Phelps struck him out swinging with a down-and-in breaking ball. The crowd was on it’s feet throughout the at-bat, and erupted with Carp’s swing and miss, as Phelps pumped his fist heading to the Yankee dugout.
Boston starter Felix Doubront pitched better than his 9+ ERA stat revealed, holding the Yanks to 3 earned runs over 6 2/3 for a ‘quality start’, but was tagged with the loss, dropping his record to 1-2. On the Yanks side of the ledger, ‘holds’ were recorded for both Thornton (2) and Phelps (4), while Shawn Kelly earned his 3rd major league save.
The Yanks benefitted by replay once again — this time accurately — as Francisco Cervelli‘s out call at 1st base on the back end of an inning-ending double-play was overturned, and allowing Brian McCann to score for a 3-1 Yanks lead. In the first good ‘ol argument with an umpire I’ve seen this season, Boston manager John Farrell was tossed arguing the reversal of the call. The bad news was Cervelli pulling a hammy on the sprint to the bag. With the light bench, manager Joe Girardi moved starting right-fielder Carlos Beltran to first base, and installing Ichiro in right. Which lucked out as a deft move when Ichiro made the highlights reel with an incredible catch that robbed Ortiz of at least a double in the top of the 8th.
The bottom of the third featured a one-out single to right by Brett Gardner, with Beltran (hitting from the right side) depositing a Doubront breaking ball into the left-field seats for his 3rd home run and 8th RBI of the season, putting the Yanks ahead 2-1.
The Yanks ran themselves out of a possible rally inn the bottom of the first, as Ellsbury was gunned down at third by Boston center-fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., trying to advance on an Alfonso Soriano sac fly to left — before Beltran crossed home plate, resulting in an inning-ending double-play.
MEMORY LANE : On April 13th, 1978, the Yankees defeated the Chicago White Sox 4-2 in their home opener on Reggie Candy Bar Day. Jackson slugs a three-run home run in the first inning, and the field is showered with candy bars, which were given out free to the fans at the game. (Source: todayinbaseballhistory.com) The back-story on this began when Reggie, playing for the Oakland A’s at the time said: ”If I played in New York, they’d name a candy bar for me.” Well, he did play in New York and they did name a candy bar after him. Here’s a few interesting links on the subject from StubStory.com, and ‘The Day It Rained Candy Bars‘ (New York Times / 1996).
ROUND-UP : Here’s the box score, and recaps from Bryan Hoch (mlb.com) and Peter Abraham (The Boston Globe). Next up : After an off-day Monday, the Cubbies come into town, with Masahiro Tanaka (1-0. 3.21) facing Jason Hammel (2-0, 2.63) for a night game at The Stadium, 7:00pm EST/4:00pm PT.