Boston struck the first blow last night in an extra-innings game with a walk-off home run by Kevin Youkilis, defeating the Yankees 5-4 in what will be a long season for the bitter rivals.
In the bottom of the ninth with two outs, the immovable Mariano Rivera delivered a cut fastball down the middle which Jason Bay connected solidly to hit the ball out of center field to tie the game. I have to applaud Bay. I saw the pitch and the hit, and it was timed beautifully.
Two innings later, Youk hit his homer.
I believe the Yankees played very well last night. Joba Chamberlain was average, going 5.1 innings, throwing 91 pitches, with 49 strikes. He allowed 9 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 4 walks (!) and two strikeouts. The rest of the frame between Chamberlain and Rivera did well — Phil Coke and Jon Albaldejo did their job and so did Rivera until the Bay homer. Damaso Marte was the losing pitcher, having served the walk-off homer to Youk. However, give Marte some credit, he struck out 3 batters in 1.1 innings.
As for the Yankee offense, I was impressed with the top half of the line-up. Jeter, Damon and Tex all had two hits. Posada had one, and so did everyone on the team. Ransom, Swisher and Jeter all hit doubles.
Ransom, Jeter, Tex, and Cano all had ribbies.
It was just a tough loss. I just believe the Yankees played well but were the victims of bad timing.
The Yankees have a classic pitching duel today with AJ Burnett going up against Josh Beckett today at 1:05pm. My money is on Burnett because he has a lot to prove and Beckett, while he has been strong against the Yankees, he has not had a good start to the season yet and I believe the Yankee hitters will take advantage of that.