Yanks Show Signs of Life
Late and winning home run ball provides some hope for the Yankees
By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 5- Maybe two solo home run balls hit by Mark Teixeira and Chase Headley in the New York Yankees ninth inning Thursday night in the Bronx was the momentum they needed. What remains to be determined is what type of momentum will carry over after a dramatic come from behind walk-off 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.
As dramatic as the win was, the Yankees will take it. Because there is no room for many more games to lose with 24 games remaining. Another loss would have made those slim chances of going to the post season as the second team in the American League wild card that more difficult.
Prior to the home run balls that have been few and in between for the Yankees, the Red Sox were headed to taking two of three games. The Yankees did have a three-run third inning that tied the score and with one-out in the ninth the drama unfolded.
Then again, every game at this point for the Yankees has to have some drama, because they also watch the scoreboard and see the teams in front of them also winning.
“Hope it really gets guys going,” manager Joe Girardi commented. “We need everybody.” That means getting Teixeira to hit the home run ball, or the timely hit more often as these precious games become more important in the month of September.
The home run by Teixeira led off the ninth and came off a 2-2 pitch from Red Sox reliever Koji Uehara, his team leading 21st. Uehara also gave up the game deciding blast to Headley, a ball that went deep in the right field stands off a 3-2 pitch. “We keep fighting,” Teixeira said. “It’s not lack of effort. We are going to stay in this as long as we can. We’re going to continue swinging the bats and keep playing defense. Until two strikes I was trying to hit a home run. He hung a split on the middle of the plate and because of that I stayed on it.”
Teixera and the those watching on the bench knew what was ahead.
“You don't hit two home runs off one of the best closers in baseball,” he said. “We have very small margin for error.” The Yankees, second to last in scoring runs will need to get more Friday night when they open a three-game series with the central leading Kansas City Royals.
And if this win means they are off to a marvelous stretch to the post season, they will need to take two of three, or sweep the Royals. Anything else will mean chances become more minimal. But they say, as Girardi always does, that there is no quit,
“I believe in them,” the manager said, “They’ve fought and fought and fought and we’ve played much better at home in the second half. That’s all I can tell you. I believe in these guys.”
Headley was the hero this night, the mid season acquisition of GM Brian Cashman had his biggest moment as a Yankee. He, too, believes that the momentum will carry over and that a run is coming. But that will require the Yankees not losing many more games, and as has been stated many times, consistency and a conspicious prolonged streak of wins has been a Yankees motive since the journey started way back in April.
“We’re very confident, I can tell you that much,” Headley stated after his walk-off home run. “These guys in the clubhouse believe it’s going to happen. Hopefully we can build on this, but we expect it to happen.”
Chris Capuano did not have his best start and David Ortiz tagged him for two home runs, his fifth multi home run game of the season that gave the Red Sox their first three runs. And Brock Holt accounted for the other Boston run with a solo shot off Capuano in the fourth inning.
The Yankees bullpen kept the game close and pitched scoreless ball for 4/ 2-3 innings, Adam Warren got the win but got off to a struggle in the ninth. After hitting a batter and making a fielding error, he got out of the inning on a fly ball to left and two infield ground outs.
And then the ninth inning dramatics followed. You see teams do this in September and the Yankees are still in distance, four games from that wild card spot but having to leap over two teams.
“Who knows what can happen in September,” said Teixeira. The Yankees and their fans can only wonder.
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