We can’t say we ever imagined we’d see that pairing of names in the box score of last night’s Yankees–Red Sox game. But in a contest that began with one pitcher barely making it out of the first inning — then continued to include some of the ugliest pitching performances you’ll ever see — it’s no surprise that the team that pitched last, lost.
The Yankees pounded Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first, but Phil Hughes wasn’t much better: Dice-K settled down after allowing six runs in the first two innings, but Hughes allowed a three-run homer to J.D. Drew in the fifth, his last inning of work, that gave Boston life. Worse still was Chan Ho Park: Pitching into the eighth because Joba Chamberlain threw too many pitches in the bullpen on Saturday, Park imploded, surrendering the lead and then some on back-to-back homers by Kevin Youkilis and Victor Martinez.
Which brings us to the final pitchers of the night. Javier Vazquez — who we vaguely recall having trouble pitching in relief against Boston once upon a time — got the final out in the ninth with the Yankees down 9–7. Because Joe Girardi had moved Alex Rodriguez from DH to third, Vazquez could have actually batted in the ninth, something we secretly would have liked to see. But they didn’t get that far down the lineup.
A-Rod crushed the first pitch he saw off of Jonathan Papelbon for a two-run homer to tie the game. (A-Rod’s now at the point where he only hits clutch home runs.) Then, after Papelbon drilled Francisco Cervelli with a pitch, Marcus Thames sent the stadium into a frenzy with a two-run homer of his own — and sent A.J. Burnett into the clubhouse pantry to make his first cream pie/towel of the season. The Boston fan who we saw brazenly throw up her middle fingers at the Yankee fans in her section when the Red Sox rallied in the eighth — clearly she hadn’t met those polite Sox fans we encountered at Fenway — could do nothing but sit and watch.