The New York Yankees continue to roll at home, winning their 10th straight at the Stadium in completing a sweep of the Minnesota Twins. Mike Mussina pitched eight innings for his 13th win on the year. The crafty veteran continues to lead an ailing Yankees pitching staff and has emerged as the club ace at age 39. “Moose” gave up only 6 hits with 0 earned runs on 7 strikeouts.
The offense for the Yankees came mostly by way of the double. Both Alex Rodriguez and Justin Christian had 2 run doubles for the Bombers in the 5-1 win. New addition Richie Sexson completed the offense with a sacrifice fly. The win put the Yankees 11 games over .500 at home. It’s the road that has really given the Yankees trouble this year. Away from the Bronx the Yankees are only a .500 team.
The Yankees are hoping to bring some of their recent momemtum on the road with them as they head to Fenway Park on Friday night to take on the 2nd place Boston Red Sox. All remaining games with the Sox are very important for New York. The Yankees are only 3.5 games out of first and only 2 games behind the Red Sox in the loss column.
Red Sox vs Yankees tickets are still available for this weekend’s series. Game 1 on Friday night features Joba Chamberlain vs Josh Beckett. Should be a good one.
Entering the 9th inning Tuesday trailing 5-2 to the New York Mets, the Philadelphia Phillies knew that with closer Billy Wagner unavailable to pitch due to muscle spasm in his throwing shoulder, anything was possible. Six runs and four relief pitchers later, the Mets witnessed just how valuable a good closer can be.
The Phillies batted around sending 11 batters to the plate in the 9th inning rally that helped lift them past the division rival Mets and take a 1 game lead in the NL East standings. The devastating blow came from 2007 NL MVP Jimmy Rollins when he clocked a go-ahead two-run double to propel the Phillies to their 54th victory on the season.
“It started last year,” Rollins said, referring to the Phillies’ comeback from seven games behind the Mets with 17 to play to win the division. “You never give up.”
New York had played the spoiler in Joe Blanton’s first start with Philadelphia since being traded from Oakland. Blanton allowed five runs on eight hits in six innings of work in his NL debut but did not factor into the decision because of the late inning heroics by his teammates.
Johan Santana also did not factor into the game’s decision after pitching very well for the Mets. Santana tossed eight solid innings allowing only two runs on eight hits but got nothing to show for it after his bullpen could not close the game out.
“After seeing that, you can’t help feeling that you want to be out there,” said the sidelined Wagner, who has 24 saves in 30 chances. “A lot of different things might have happened if I was out there. I’d rather be the guy standing here taking the blame instead of letting my teammates suck on this one.”
The loss puts the Mets 1 game behind the Phillies in the NL East standings and 4 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wildcard race.
The Yankees have 27 more regular season games at the old Yankee Stadium. It looks like they are trying to win them all. Last night’s 8-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins gave the ‘Bombers’ their 5th win in a row and their 9th straight at home. The Yankees have been closing the gap on the Red Sox and the Rays and now trail Tampa by 3.5 games in the AL East. The streak has come just in time for a key series this weekend at Fenway Park with the Boston Red Sox.
Last night’s rout included more big hits from 2B Robinson Cano. Cano who suffered at the plate in the 1st half of the season is hitting .522 since the All-Star break and went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI. Bobby Abreu also went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI including a 2 run homer in the 6th inning.
The Yankees will finish up at home with the Twins on Wednesday before heading to Boston for a three game set with the Red Sox starting on Friday night. Red Sox vs Yankees tickets are still available for the series.
Wide Receiver Plaxico Burress of the New York Giants said today that he will report to camp for the team despite not being happy with his current contract situation. Burress already missed five team meetings at a Giants mini-camp and was fined over $40,000 for those actions. Plax says he will show up this time but feels he is owed more money given the recent contracts awarded to Terrell Owens and Randy Moss.
Burress doesn’t want to be a distraction to the Giants like former teammate Jeremy Shockey. Shockey who was traded to the Saints on Monday, was unhappy about his role with the Giants offense. The Giants would love to put an end to off-season distractions so they can focus on defending their Super Bowl title. It will be an uphill battle to repeat for the Giants in 2008-2009 given the loss of Michael Strahan and Jeremy Shockey. To do it without Plaxico Burress would be nearly impossible.
2008-2009 Giants tickets are now available. The Giants will begin their regular season at home against the Washington Redskins. The Giants will have a pre-season rematch with their Super Bowl opponent New England Patriots on August 23rd at Giants Stadium.
After many months of publicly expressing his unhappiness with the New York Giants offensive system, TE Jeremy Shockey was traded to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for second- and a fifth-round draft pick in 2009.
New Orleans had been after Shockey since February but the Giants held onto their former Pro-Bowl tight end because they felt he was too valuable to give up for what was being offered. Originally, the Saints had only offered the second-round pick, and then right before the NFL draft they threw in the fifth-round pick as well but the Giants didn’t budge.
After more disgruntled complaints from Shockey, the Giants finally said enough was enough and accepted the Saints offer, handing the remainder of Shockey’s contract over to New Orleans club.
One of the main reasons the Saints were so adamant about acquiring Shockey was the fact that their offensive coordinator in Sean Payton was a former offensive coordinator for the Giants and worked with Shockey during his rookie season when he made 74 receptions for 894 yards.
So far in his six-year NFL career, Shockey has totaled 371 receptions for 4,228 yards and 27 touchdowns. That reception mark leaves him at fourth all-time in Giants history.
The Yankees Stadium clock read 1:37 AM as Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins slid home in the 15th inning giving the American League a 4-3 victory over the National League in Tuesday night’s 2008 All-Star Game. The game itself lasted 4 hours and 50 minutes long, a record for the longest All-Star Game in MLB history.
“It was just crazy how it seemed like it lasted forever,” Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “It was the last year for Yankee Stadium, the last All-Star game, and it’s kind of fitting that it seemed like it lasted forever.”
Beside the record long time, the game itself also saw many other records take place including combined strikeouts (34), runners left on base (28) and players to make an appearance (63).
When the game finally finished up, both teams were down to their final pitchers and both coaches were starting to wonder if they would have to call upon position players to fill the pitching void. Neither team wanted a repeat of the 2002 tie in Milwaukee so some team members began volunteering to toss a few outs if need be including J.D. Drew of the Boston Red Sox and David Wright of the New York Mets.
“I told David, ‘You were the last pick, I went and got you. Have you ever pitched in an All-Star game?” NL Manager Clint Hurdle said. “I was doing Chinese arithmetic from the sixth inning on. I felt like I was in algebra class. It got wild.”
As far as the game itself goes, the 20 or so thousand fans who stuck around at Yankee Stadium for the whole contest definitely got their moneys worth. The NL opened up the scoring with a solo-homerun by Matt Holiday of the Colorado Rockies in the 5th innings. Lance Berkman of the Houston Astros drove in the NL’s second run on a sac-fly in the 6th inning.
The AL was able to tie the game on a two-run homer by Boston’s J.D. Drew in the 7th inning off of Cincinnati Reds ace Edinson Volquez. Drew would finish the game going 2-4 with 2 RBI’s, a run, a stolen base and a walk to earn the MVP honors.
With the game knotted at two, Francona called for his own closer, Jonathan Papelbon, to enter the game in the 8th. After surrendering a leadoff single to Miguel Tejada, a throwing error by Tampa Bay Rays catcher Dioner Navarro who had just entered the game, moved Tejada into scoring position with only one out. San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez drove home the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly putting the NL up 3-2.
The AL struck right back, scoring in the bottom of the 8th inning when Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays slapped an RBI double down the left-field line, scoring Grady Sizemore of the Cleveland Indians.
And then the scoring stopped.
Neither team was able to plate any runs in 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th or 14th innings. The chances were certainly there but neither team capitalized on those opportunities. The AL even had the bases loaded with no outs in the 10th inning but failed to score off of Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Aaron Cook.
The winning run for the AL would finally come in the 15th inning off of Brad Lidge of the Houston Astros. Lidge, who was not supposed to pitch in the game, was called upon as a last resort effort before position players would be summoned to hurl. A single by Justin Morneau started things out in the inning. Dioner Navarro also singled and J.D. Drew followed the hit up with a walk to load the bases with only one out for Michael Young of the Texas Rangers. Young, a former All-Star Game MVP, delivered by driving a fly ball to right-field just deep enough to score Morneau for the game winning sacrifice fly.
The American League’s 4-3 victory extends their winning streak over the National League to 12 games/years (11-0-1). They have not been defeated since a 1996 loss in Philadelphia and are a perfect 6-0 since the game has determined the site of home field advantage in the World Series.
The walk-off RBI by Young was also only the second time in All-Star Game history that the AL has won in its last at bat. The first came back in 1941 when Ted Williams hit a walk-off homerun to propel the American League to a victory.
Both leagues have today off and games resume on Thursday July 17, 2008.
Twins first baseman Justin Morneau may have won the Home Run Derby, but the real show came from Rangers centerfielder Josh Hamilton in the first round. Hamilton hit a record 28 homers in the first round, including 502, 504, and 518 foot drives.
Hamilton had the Yankee stadium crowd on their feet, at one point belting homers on 13 straight swings.
Lance Berkman and Ryan Braun made it to the semifinals, with 14 total home runs each. Dan Uggla and Grady Sizemore hit 6, Chase Utley hit 5, and Rays rookie Evan Longoria hit 3.
While Hamilton’s first round was the flashiest, Morneau’s consistency won the contest. After his initial 28, Hamilton could only muster 3 homers in the finals, to Morneau’s 5.
After the first two games of this weekend’s Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees series, things were looking great for the Boston Red Sox. They’d captured victories on both Thursday night and Friday afternoon against the Bronx Bombers and it finally looked liked their bats were going to come around after an awful series sweep in Tampa Bay. It appeared that right when they needed a series win on the road, they were about to accomplished the feat but the weekend would prove to fair in favor of New York who evened the series out by claiming one run victories on Saturday and Sunday.
Jon Lester pitched a complete game five-hitter in Boston’s 5-0 win in the first game of the series to end Boston’s five-game losing streak. The win was his seventh on the season and his second complete game shutout on the year. Lester was the first Boston pitcher to throw a complete game shutout in the Bronx since Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat in 2000.
“It was cool. It was definitely a different experience,” Lester said. “You watch the game and it seems big, but when you’re out there on the mound, it’s a pretty big stadium and a lot of people.”
Friday afternoon Josh Beckett tossed six strong innings and the Sox were able to win again by the score of 6-4 with the help of one of the most bizarre hits in recent years. Kevin Youkilis belted a two-RBI triple in the third inning that helped tie the score at 3-3 but the hit itself was inches away from being a homerun. Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon had a good beat on the Youkilis blast that was heading towards the left field fence. He made a great effort to catch the ball and for a moment actually had it in his glove before crashing into the wall, jarring the ball which sprang loose and actually rested on the top of the wall’s padding for multiple seconds before falling back in play on the warning track. When all was said and done with, two runs had scored, Youkilis ended up at third, and Damon left the game with a sprained/bruised left shoulder and has since been placed on the 15-day DL for the first time in his career.
“It was bizarre,” said Sox third basemen Mike Lowell who was the hero of the game with four RBI’s and the go-ahead three run homer in the fifth inning. “I’ve been playing awhile. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
In the two wins, the Sox had a combined 23 hits and 13 runs compared to the Yankees 11 hits and four runs. Yankees Manager Joe Girardi was not happy with his team’s effort and in the post-game press conference made it known.
“Last night was a frustrating loss,” Girardi said. “Today’s a frustrating loss.”
The Yankees responded well and were able to receive a very strong pitching performance from Mike Mussina on Saturday to pick up a 2-1 victory. Mussina hurled six innings allowing only four hits and no runs while striking out five to earn his 11th victory on the year.
New York was able to take a 1-0 lead on a Melky Cabrera RBI single in the 2nd inning and plate their other run in the 6th inning on a Brett Gardner Sac fly to left.
Mariano Rivera was called to close the door in the 9th and immediately got himself into a jam. J.D. Drew singled to lead off the inning and Manny Ramirez was then hit by a pitch to put two runners on with no outs. Mike Lowell kept things alive with an RBI single to right, scoring Drew and cutting the Yankees lead in half making the score 2-1. Rivera would then hit Kevin Youkilis to load the bases with no outs.
As good as things looked for the Sox, Rivera reached down deep and was able to record the final three outs without allowing another run to score. He was able to strike out Coco Crisp for out number one, retire the struggling Jason Varitek on an infield pop up to first and then end the game on a Julio Lugo strike out.
“We gave ourselves a great chance with really good at-bats in the ninth and then Mariano went to work and really carved us up for three batters,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “He gave himself no wiggle room and he didn’t need it.”
In Sunday’s game, the Sox attempted to rebound from the tough loss and capture a road series for the first time on the road trip. Tim Wakefield provided Boston with another quality start, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing three runs. When he exited the game, the Sox were on top 4-2 and he was replaced in favor of Javier Lopez. Lopez allowed a two run triple to Robinson Cano that evened the games score at 4-4.
The game would go to extra innings and the Yankees were able to get to Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon to score the game winning run in the 10th inning off of a Brett Gardener dribbler up the middle that deflected off of Alex Cora’s glove into center field, scoring Cano to make the final score 5-4 New York.
“Seems like that’s what’s going to happen if you’re going to beat me this year: broken bat or find-your-way-through-the-infield somehow,” Papelbon said. “I’ve got to be able to go out and get the first guy.”
The Sox struggled to only win three games on their 10 game road trip and have slipped behind the Tampa Bay Rays by five games in the AL East Standings. Currently Boston is a half game ahead of the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card race and they will be welcoming Minnesota to Boston for a three game series starting tonight.
Minnesota has been playing great ball winning eight of their last 10 games including five in a row. They will send Scott Baker to the hill tonight to face Dice-K Matsuzaka in the series opener. Baker is 5-2 on the season with a 3.65 ERA while Matsuzaka, currently 9-1, will be going for win number 10 on the year.
Following the three games with Minnesota, the Sox will welcome the Baltimore Orioles into town for a three game set this coming weekend. Tickets are still available for all remaining games on the current homestand.
The rosters for the 2008 All-Star Game have been released. The Red Sox, Yankees, and Cubs are well represented among the starters. Both the Angels and the Cubs each send two starting pitchers and their closer. The Last man ballot, as well as the managers’ choices for starting pitchers are not available yet. (more)
John McEnroe called Rafael Nadal’s victory over Roger Federer on Sunday the greatest match he had ever seen. Nadal became the first person to win the French Open-Wimbledon double since Bjorn Borg in 1980. The 4 hour 48 minute marathon included three rain delays, and ended just before dusk.
Nadal won his first ever match on grass against the #1 ranked Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7.
“It is impossible to explain what I felt in that moment,” said Nadal. “Very happy to win this title, my favorite tournament. It’s a dream to play in this court.”
The ATP’s updated ranks have Roger Federer at 1 (6600) for the record 232nd week, and Nadal at 2 (6055) for a record 156 consecutive weeks.
Rafael Nadal is poised to capture the top ranking in Flushing, NY next month at the US Open. The tournament runs from August 25th to September 7th, and is held at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
US Open Tennis Tickets are available for purchase now if you want to watch history!