A-Rod’s 15th Inning Homer Gives Yankees Walk-Off Win

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A-Rod's 15th Inning Homer Gives Yankees Walk-Off Win Thursday night featured an onslaught of offense for the New York Yankees. Friday night? Not so much.

The Red Sox and Yankees were held scoreless through 14-plus innings thanks to masterful pitching performances by starters Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett. Both hurlers combined to allow just five hits in 14 2/3 shutout innings while striking out 13. The Yankee bullpen kept pace with Burnett's gem, going 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out eight Sox batters.

The Yankees should have seen Beckett’s stellar performance coming. When Beckett has pitched following a Red Sox loss this season (11 starts), the righty has gone 7-1, allowing just 21 earned runs in 78 2/3 innings while striking out 71 and walking 18. The Sox have gone 9-2 when he starts following a loss.

Both Beckett and Burnett had four 1-2-3 innings in their outings, but neither performance will show up in a win column as this one was settled by the bullpens.

After 14-plus innings of exchanging just 13 hits, 15 walks and even more frustrating looks, the Yankees' offense finally showed some life when they got to rookie call-up Junichi Tazawa, who came on in the 14th. After a leadoff single up the middle in the 15th inning by Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez blasted a two-run, walk-off bomb over the fence in left to end it after 5 1/2 hours of action in the Bronx.

Yankees 2, Red Sox 0 (15 innings)
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York   
August 7, 2009

Live Blog | Box Score

Headliner: Alex Rodriguez had just two hits on the evening, but none was bigger than his two-run bomb off Junichi Tazawa in the bottom of the 15th inning to give the Yankees the 2-0 win.

Dirt dog: A.J. Burnett and Josh Becket. Burnett was a little wild, but the Yankees hurler matched Beckett’s dominance for the most part. Despite walking six batters, Burnett went 7 2/3 shutout innings and held the Sox to just one hit – a single to Jacoby Ellsbury, the game's first batter.

Beckett went seven shutout innings and allowed just four hits. The ace walked just two batters while striking out seven before Hideki Okajima took over in the bottom of the eighth. Beckett's strong outing went all for naught as the Sox couldn't get their offense going.

Better luck next time: Jason Varitek, Josh Reddick and Victor Martinez combined to go 0-for-18 with seven strikeouts and left five runners left on base.

Key moment: In the top of the sixth with Nick Green on second, Jacoby Ellsbury swung at an outside pitch and dribbled it back to Burnett, who turned and fired to get Ellsbury out at first. However, home plate ump Chad Fairchild called catcher’s interference on the play as Jorge Posada's glove – which he extended over the plate and into the path of Ellsbury's swing — struck Ellsbury’s bat. Ellsbury was awarded first base, and Green took second to put runners on first and second with none out, setting the Sox up for what could have been a big rally. However, following a Dustin Pedroia fly out to left and a Victor Martinez infield fly rule, Burnett ended the threat by striking out cleanup hitter Kevin Youkilis to keep it a 0-0 game.

On deck: Clay Buchholz looks to pick up his second win of the season and first against the Yankees as the young hurler takes on one of the game’s most dominant pitchers of the last few seasons in CC Sabathia.

After winning his first start with the Sox on July 17, Buchholz has gone winless in three straight outings. The righty took a no-decision his last time out, giving up seven runs on nine hits in just four innings of work. Buchholz has faced the Yanks twice in his young career, tossing 9 2/3 innings while giving up eight earned runs on 12 hits for a 7.45 ERA.

Sabathia stands in with a 11-7 record and a 3.95 ERA. The big lefty has picked up wins in three of his last four starts including an 8-5 win over the Chicago White Sox in his last outing, when allowed five earned runs over seven innings. In eight career starts against the Red Sox, Sabathia is 2-5 with a 4.07 ERA. He took the loss in his only start against Boston this season after allowing four earned runs over seven frames in Boston’s 4-3 win at Fenway on June 11.

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