Bronx, NY—Rookie Brandon Workman threw a wild pitch with two out and Ichiro Suzuki on third base in the bottom of the ninth. The wild pitch allowed Ichiro to score the winning run that prevented a four game series sweep by the Red Sox over the Yanks.
With one out, Ichiro singled to center and then stole second base. He moved to third on a fly to right by Vernon Wells. The walk-off winning run scored as Ichiro crossed the plate after the wild pitch was thrown with Alfonso Soriano at the plate.
It was the first Yankee walk-off win on a wild pitch since September 27, 1977 and their seventh walk-off in this year.
After the contest, Ichiro modestly downplayed his role in the win by his baserunning heroics, “Anybody could have scored that run. I was just doing what I usually do, not being overly aggressive. If I have an opportunity, I was just going to take it. You just have to stay within yourself and that’s what I was doing.”
After scoring a combined total of 59 runs on the previous three contests, the two experienced starters, Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Lester, effectively held down the scoring.
Despite throwing 38 pitches in the second inning, Kuroda pitched six frames. He yielded only two runs, his fewest since August 12. The 117 pitches he threw were his high for this season. Yankee skipper Joe Girardi praised his starter’s effort, “Kuroda did an incredible job to give us six innings.
Yet the modest starter was regretful of his inability to pitch even deeper into the game, “I wish I could have performed for more innings.”
Lester threw only two pitches fewer than Kuroda, but completed eight frames, his third longest start of the season. He left the game with the Sox trailing, 4-2.
With Yankee relievers David Robertson and Boone Logan unavailable due to injury, Girardi made the rare call for Mariano Rivera to make a six out save. A save that long has only been successful for Rivera 11 times of his 649 saves.
After the contest, the Yankee manager explained why he made that unusual decision, “It wasn’t hard. Mo is our best pitcher and that’s who we went to. He told us he thought he could do two [innings]. He’s not saving anything for 2014.”
Rivera gave up a single in the eighth. The first batter in the ninth, Will Middlebrooks, tied the score by smacking a home run to right. His two hits on Sunday raised his multi-hit game streak to five straight games. He has homered in four of his last five games. The blown save was Rivera’s seventh of 2013, tying his career high, but he got the win, his fifth.
The Yanks now embark upon a 10 game road trip against American League East rivals, four games at Baltimore, three at Boston and three at Toronto.