The Mark Teixeira Retirement Tour keeps rolling on! Teix provided the 9th inning dramatics again last night, hitting a walk-off grand slam to turn what looked like a surefire 3-0 loss into an incredibly dramatic comeback win.
This one got wild late, but it was a pitchers' duel early from 2 unexpected sources. Bryan Mitchell danced in and out of trouble over 7 scoreless innings in his final appearance of the season. He didn't rack up big strikeout numbers and he did walk 5 batters, but Boston only managed 2 hits against him. Just like Cessa the other night, I'll take that against this lineup every time out.
Mitchell was matched by Clay Buchholz over his 6 innings of work, and his work was a little more dominant than Mitchell's. The Yankees only had 1 hit off Buchholz and he struck out 6. The lack of offense gave the Yankees no margin for error, and Starlin Castro made one to lead off the top of the 8th. This resulted in 3 runs coming in on a ground ball double and Gary Sanchez passed ball and that set the stage for the big bottom of the 9th.
Brett Gardner singled to lead off the inning and Craig Kimbrel proceeded to walk the next 2 batters to load the bases with nobody out. That brought Brian McCann to the plate, and after falling behind 0-2 he battled back to draw a 10-pitch walk and force in the first run. Kimbrel was out, Joe Kelly was in, and he got Starlin and Didi to make quick outs, which brought up Teix. Kelly threw a curveball for called strike 1 and tried to set it up again with a fastball on the second pitch. Teix was ready for it and he got all of it, hitting it out into the Yankee bullpen for the walk-off win. Really cool moment, and one that keeps the tiny playoff hopes alive for another day.
- Strange night for the offense. They drew 6 walks as a team, 3 of them in the 9th, and only had 3 hits. Brett Gardner had 2 of the hits and 2 of the walks, so nice job setting the table by him.
- Props to Jonathan Holder, Tommy Layne, and James Pazos holding the Sox at 3 after the 8th. Made the walk-off possible.
- Believe it or not, that was Teixeira's first career walk-off home run. He said after the game that he hoped that was his final home run and I can't blame him for that. That's a helluva good one to go out on. We'll see what Joe does with him over these final 4 games.