The New York Yankees avoided a four-game sweep against the Boston Red Sox by rallying for a 4-3 win in the bottom of the ninth after Mariano Rivera blew a save opportunity in the top of the inning.
Ichiro Suzuki had a one-out single, stole second base, moved to third on a flyout and scored the winning run on a wild pitch by Red Sox reliever Brandon Workman yesterday at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees (76-67) are 2 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay for the second of the American League’s two wild card playoff spots.
“If we lose this one, it would have been a big hit mentally,” Ichiro said through an interpreter. “It would have been tough. But we did win, and hopefully we can take this win here, get on a run, and really use it to our advantage.”
The Red Sox, who scored 34 runs in winning the first three games of the series, had tied the game in the top of the ninth inning when Will Middlebrooks hit a leadoff home run against Rivera, who had also pitched the eighth inning. It was the seventh blown save of the season for Rivera and his second in his past two games against Boston.
Mark Reynolds doubled in the Yankees’ first run and Robinson Cano added a two-run double for the home team. Yankees captain Derek Jeter sat out the Major League Baseball game with soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle.
The Red Sox (87-58) still have a 7 1/2-game lead over the Rays atop the AL East. Tampa Bay beat the Seattle Mariners 4-1 yesterday and is two games ahead of the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles for the second AL wild card berth.