Mitch's Sports Report: After Red Sox Lose On Teixeira Grand Slam In The 9th: Time To Party!
NY Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira hit a walk off grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth at Yankee Stadium last night to erase a 3-0 deficit and beat the Boston Red Sox 5-3, and the Red Sox ended up celebrating with champagne in their locker room.
That's because about 30 minutes before Teixeira blasted his walk-off granny the scoreboard at Yankee Stadium showed an out of town final that the Baltimore Orioles had staged a ninth inning comeback of their own in Toronto, beating the Blue Jays 3-2, a win that secured first place in the American League east for the 2016 Boston Red Sox, just one year removed from finishing in the basement. There really is no game as strange, vexing, and wonderful as baseball.
This is not how the Red Sox wanted to win the division, and Teixeira's heroics overshadowed a brilliant pitching performance by Clay Buchholz, who allowed just one hit through six complete innings, and that was an infield dribbler to Brett Gardner. Meanwhile, Bryan Mitchell was almost as good for the Yankees, yielding just two hits and no runs and the teams remained scoreless going into the eighth inning on a cold and blustery night in the Bronx. But the Red Sox broke through in the top of the eighth when Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro booted an easy grounder for an error and Dustin Pedroia followed with a ground rule double. Mookie Betts hit a high chopper over the head of third baseman Chase Headley and two runs scored. One wild pitch later, David Ortiz lumbered home with the third run and the Red Sox led 3-0 going into the ninth.
That's when when closer Craig Kimbrel came unglued, and Red Sox fans can only hope it's not a harbinger of things to come in the playoffs, because if it is, the Red Sox post season will be short-lived. Kimbrel gave up a single, and then issued three straight walks, bringing home a run to make to 3-1 and manager John Farrell had no choice but to get Joe Kelly from the bullpen. Kelly got two outs but then with the bases still juiced Teixeira turned on a 99 mile an hour fast ball and put it into the stands in right as the Yankee fans went bonkers and the Red Sox were prevented from celebrating on their field. That they saved for the locker room, and perhaps old school baseball guys would say partying is undeserved given the loss, but then again, the bubbly was already on ice, and you gotta drink it when you clinch, not the day after. Plus, the Red Sox were celebrating the totality of going from worst to first yet again, and it is a remarkable accomplishment given how bad they were last year.
The Yankees, by the way, are technically still alive for a wild card playoff berth but with the Orioles win their tragic number is down to one, meaning one more loss or a Baltimore win and the Yanks have to wait til next year.
The NY Mets are all about this year, and after a 5-2 win over the Miami Marlins last night they've opened up a one and a half game lead for the first wild card spot with just three games left to play, so they're looking at an almost certain wild card playoff, most likely against the San Francisco Giants who have a one game lead over the Cardinals for the second wild card spot. Jay Bruce and James Loney homered for the Mets last night, and don't blame the Marlins for not putting up much of a fight. Earlier in the day the team had walked alongside the hearse of their teammate Jose Fernandez, who died at the age of 24 in a boating accident Sunday, and it's a bit unfair to expect much in the way of baseball after walking in a funeral procession for their friend.
In womens' college soccer the St. Michaels Purple Knights were knotted in a scoreless game with St. Anselm until Olivia Griffin scored for the Hawks in the 80th minute and tacked on one more for a 2-0 win.
The only goal of the game between the Middlebury Panthers and Keene State Owls was scored by Middlebury's Amy Martin in the first half as the Panthers improve to 6-2 on the season with the 1-0 victory, and St. Joseph's of Connecticut shut out the Norwich Cadets 4-0.
In college Field Hockey the Middlebury Panthers played a textbook road game, scoring two goals early and then clamping down on defense the rest of the way to beat Skidmore 2-0. Annie Leonard got the Panthers on the board just 30 seconds into the game and Molly Freeman added the insurance goal to run Middlebury's record to 5-1 on the season.