But as story time progresses, it might be a date worth bringing up, simply for the sheer absurdity of the whole thing.
A day after being rained out (following a delay of 3 ½ hours) and moments after the retiring Mike Lowell was given a tribute (that was not absurd), the Sox and Yanks played a four-hour, 18-minute affair that the New Yorkers won in 10 innings, 6-5.
Essentially it had taken more than 25 hours to complete the first game of the regular season’s last series. And the two clubs were just getting warmed up.
In the nightcap of the doubleheader, with the Yankees still fighting for the American League East title and the Red Sox tossing out a lineup featuring only one player hitting above .250 (that would be J.D. Drew, the only regular in the batting order, at .256), David scratched and clawed and took advantage of a sloppy Goliath to steal a 7-6 walk-off win.
Eric Patterson’s single up the middle at 1:22 a.m. drove in Bill Hall from third base, capped a four-hour contest and kicked off a chase of Patterson into shallow center field. It was a display of exhilaration brought on not only by the win, but due in large part to the fact that the day was done.
"Once I hit it I knew they were coming," Patterson said of the postgame ritual of tracking down and then pummeling the hero. "I was really contemplating making them chase me around the field but it was a long day. I think everybody needed to get out of here."
The nightcap featured six errors, 16 walks, 24 runners left on base, four hit batsmen and three wild pitches. It was a comedy of errors that left Boston with something to smile about and New York in a tie atop the division with one game to play.
The Yanks broke out to a 4-1 lead against an unsteady Daisuke Matsuzaka –when asked about Matsuzaka after the game, Sox manager Terry Francona said, “That was a long time ago.”– but an equally wayward A.J. Burnett allowed Boston to creep closer.
The Sox got to within 4-3 in the fourth after New York committed two errors on one play. First baseman Lance Berkman bobbled a ball before scooping too late to get the ball to Burnett covering first. When first base umpire Brian Runge ruled that the runner, Josh Reddick, was safe, Burnett turned to protest, neglecting the other runner, Daniel Nava, now rounding third. Nava, who was on second after doubling, paused for a moment to make sure Burnett was fully engrossed in his bid to be on the blooper reels, and then dashed home as Burnett’s late throw bounced away.
And three more hours of baseball was yet to come.
While the big, bad Yankees wasted chance after chance to put away the game, they coughed up their first lead when Felipe Lopez homered to tie it 4-4 in the sixth and then lost their second lead when the Sox rallied for two to make it 6-6 in the eighth.
Those two runs came in on infield single by Nava and bases-loaded walk to Kevin Cash, who had yet to record an RBI in 66 plate appearances as a member of the Red Sox. On a day turned night turned tomorrow morning, anything was possible.
"That is probably the longest at-bat, if you look at the last three months, the longest I’ve ever been in the batter’s box," said Cash, who joked that the lack of RBIs was a 'sore spot' with him. “It was good. Big RBI against the Yankees anytime is good. Fun win for a long day."
Francona did give David Ortiz a pinch-hitting appearance and Hall came off the bench two innings before hitting a double to start the game-winning rally, but for the most part this one was decided by Pawtucket call-ups and a sprinkling of veterans.
Perhaps the youth was what was needed to carry the old-timers to the finish line, what with more than eight hours of baseball at Fenway Park.
"It was a spirited game,” Francona said. "It’s nice to win. We were here a long time. It’s nice to have a win. I don’t care if it’s September, October or April, you spend that much time at the ballpark it’s nice to win."
It’ll make a great story someday.
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