Teixeira, Headley create winning rally with 2 swings
Here I was ready to get on Mark Teixeira for not dropping a bunt to an unoccupied left side as the Red Sox were employing a shift against the first baseman leading off the ninth inning Thursday night with the Yankees down a run. In that situation, it is vital to get a base runner, to start a rally, why not take what the defense allows?
Granted, this is a pet peeve of mine which fans may be tired of hearing. And, of course, now they won’t pay attention to me at all after what happened in what became the latest most important inning this season for the Yankees.
Teixeira swung away throughout his at-bat against Koji Uehara and eventually connected on a 2-2 pitch for a home run to right field that tied the score. Brian McCann, who had homered off Uehara Tuesday night, lined out sharply to left field. Clearly, Uehara was not at his sharpest.
Chase Headley showed that by smoking a 3-2 pitch to right for a walk-off homer producing a 5-4 comeback victory that gave the Yankees a winning series for a change and kept them for falling further behind in the American League wild card chase.
The Yankees had looked pretty limp after they had tied the score with a three-run third. They had only one hit, an infield single, after that into the ninth before Tex and Headley teed off on Uehara, who has given up 10 home runs in 61 1/3 innings this year in which he has not been as lights-out as he was a year ago.
It was Teixeira’s 21st home run of the season but his first in 57 at-bats since Aug. 17. He had that lone hit from the fourth through the eighth and really put a jolt into the crowd with the timely home run.
Headley, who has been a great addition since coming to the Yankees from the Padres in a July trade, failed to get a ball out of the infield before his ninth-inning at-bat in which he battled Uehara tooth and nail.
Credit for this victory also goes to the bullpen. Five relievers took over for Chris Capuano, who gave up two home runs to David Ortiz and one to Brock Holt, and combined to shut down the Red Sox for 4 2/3 innings in which they allowed one hit and one hit batter with four strikeouts.
Winning pitcher Shawn Kelley (3-5) got himself in trouble in the ninth by hitting a batter and bobbling a sacrifice but recovered to get a harmless fly ball and two groundouts that kept the Yankees close enough for the ninth-inning heroics.
Elsewhere, the Mariners were winning big and the Tigers and Indians were in a tight game. A Yankees loss in a game in which the Red Sox were hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position would have been a devastating blow. Instead, they came up with a couple of devastating blows of their own.