The first game of the season between legendary rivals was one to remember – if anyone was awake to watch. One of the biggest rivalries in baseball took place this past Friday night and lasted until early Saturday morning. The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees faced off for a total time of six hours and 49 minutes. The game lasted until around 2 a.m., leaving only thousands of the original forty-thousand fans left. During the 12th inning the stadium lights turned off and fans attempted to light the park with their cell phones. Ultimately, the Red Sox were able to oust the Yankees in a 6-5 victory. Shockingly, this was not the longest battle between the rivals, for in 1967 the teams engaged in a 20 inning game, the second game of a double-header. However, it was the longest game to have been recorded in the new Yankee Stadium.
The game featured many memorable moments any sports fan would love. Defensively, Over 600 pitches were thrown. This is over four times the average number of pitches thrown in the MLB last season, which was 146. Typically around six pitchers take the field in an average game. But this, obviously, was no average game. In total, 17 pitchers took the mound. The Yankees were forced to use their entire bullpen. The Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, commented in a post-game interview that his next pitcher would have been their first baseman, who is an outfielder by trade.
Offensively, Boston’s lead-off hitter Mookie Betts saw eight at bats in the game. The Red Sox’s heavy-hitter David Ortiz hit his 50th home run against the Yankees off of Esmil Rogers. This solo home run gave Boston the lead over the Yankees in the 16th inning. However, Mark Teixeira, the Yankee first baseman and designated hitter, was able to tie the game at 4-4 with another solo home run. Although his team lost, Teixeira had even more to celebrate during the game, for his 35th birthday occurred during the game.
While both teams demonstrated great resilience in their ability to play a near seven-hour game, the Red Sox were finally able to oust the Yankees in the 19th inning after stranding a total of 20 players on base. Previously, the Red Sox opened the game with a 3-0 lead against Nathan Eovaldi. The Yankees dramatically tied up the game in the ninth inning with a homer by Chase Headley off of Boston’s closer, Edward Mujica.
The scoring continued with Ortiz’s solo home run in the 16th, which was answered by Teixeira’s homer. In the 18th inning, Pablo Sandoval singled in Dustin Pedroia to give Boston a one run lead. However, Carlos Beltran was able to drive in John Murphy to tie the game back up at 5-5. In the top of the 19th, Mookie Betts hit a sacrifice fly in shallow center field, driving in Xander Bogaerts for the winning run. Steven Wright and the Boston defense were able to limit the Yankees in the bottom of the 19th and the Red Sox were able to clinch a well-deserved win in enemy territory. However, the Red Sox victory does not discount the efforts of the Yankee team, who were able to score in three decisive innings to continue the game
After the game, the Yankees new third baseman, Chase Headley, a former San Diego Padre who signed with the Yankees to the healthy tune of $52 million, commented how this amazing game was all part of baseball.
“This is part of the gig. We understand that. Get some rest, get in a cold rub, then a hot tub in the morning and fire it back up.” Headley also recognized the marvel of the game, “It was a wonderful game. I wish we won, but it was a great game.” However, not all Yankees shared this light-hearted approach.
“It feels worse than one loss, but thank goodness it’s only one,”outfielder Brett Gardner commented.
The teams had less than 11 hours until their next games against each other. The Red Sox were able to beat the Yankees in the second game by four runs but fell to the New Yorkers in a 4-14 loss on Sunday. Because the average number of extra-innings games has been increasing recently in baseball, I’m sure this won’t be the last time we see these rivals in a marathon game like Friday’s. Anytime someone ignorantly comments how baseball or softball players are lazy, just remind them that you don’t see other sports playing near seven-hour games into the middle of the night during a 150-game season.