Nearly stunned again, the Yankees turned a near heart-breaker into a much-needed 4-3 walk-off win against the Red Sox this afternoon. Mariano Rivera had been unable to complete his first regular-season, two-inning save since 2006, but in the bottom of the ninth Ichiro Suzuki singled, stole second, took third on a fly ball to right, and scored the winning run on a wild pitch to the backstop. It was the first time Joe Girardi had ever sent Rivera to start an eighth inning, but after watching the pitching staff waste three straight winable games, Girardi played this one like it was the postseason. Rivera got through a scoreless eighth, but Will Middlebrooks started the ninth with a looked-like-a-routine-fly-ball that carried over the fence in right field, tying the game at 3. It had been tied at 1 in the fifth before three straight bloop singles — each one floated just out of the reach of a defender — and a two-out, two-run double by Robinson Cano put the Yankees in front. With one hard-hit ball, the Yankees had a 3-1 lead. The Red Sox cut that lead in half with a run in the sixth, but Shawn Kelley pitched a scoreless seventh before Rivera attempted his two-out save.
Associated Press photo