Talk about going from a low yesterday to a high today! The Yankees defeated the Red Sox, 11-9 on Marcus Thames’ ninth inning walk off home run against Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. Someone give this man a pie!

REUTERS/Mike Segar

Before I start, here’s a brief overview from the game. Phil Hughes squared off against Daisuke Matsuzaka and neither was great. Javier Vazquez pitched in relief. And got the win.  My favorite closer in the entire world blew the save opportunity. On top of that, Adam and I saw David Wells, David Cone, Brian Cashman, Boomer Esiason, Randy Levine,  Aaron Boone, and met Nick Swisher. What. A. Game.

Initial Reaction:

The Yankees rallied from two down in the ninth to win in walk-off fashion for the first time in 2010 against none other than Red Sox closer, Jonathan Papelbon. Brett Gardner led off the 9th inning with a double down the left field line. Red Sox left fielder, Darnell McDonald dove and barely missed the sinking line drive. Mark Teixeira moved Gardner to third on a deep sacrifice fly to right center.

Then the dramatics began.

Alex Rodriguez crushed a two-run home run into the Red Sox bullpen to tie the game. Robinson Cano flied out to center field. Francisco Cervelli was hit in the elbow by a Papelbon fastball. Then, Marcus Thames stepped to the plate and crushed an early fastball over the left field wall. AJ Burnett pied Marcus Thames minutes later and the Red Sox were demoralized.

Positives From The Game:

Thames Tanks One: Marcus Thames had his first Yankee moment today. After being an embarrassed by a 98 MPH Daniel Bard fastball an inning earlier, Thames crushed Papelbon’s 95 MPH fastball over the left field wall for the walk off win.

A-Bomb #588: Alex Rodriguez hit his 588th career home run to tie the game in the ninth inning. His home run gets lost in the shuffle of Thames’ dramatic, but the guy has come up so big so many times for the club in the last year.

Gardy Gets It Starty’d: Gardner went 2 for 3 with three runs scored. He was the catalyst to the 9th inning rally. I can’t recall the Yankees having a similar type of player, can you?

Vazquez Victorious?: We noted here that the Yankees were skipping Javier Vazquez this week, but the Yankees were open to using him in relief. With two runners on in the 9th inning and Kevin Youkilis coming to bat, Damaso Marte was lifted in favor of Vazquez. Vazquez struck out Youkilis to end the threat and keep the deficit at two runs. Vazquez is still in-line to start on Friday. This definitely had to be a big confidence booster.

Negatives From The Game:

Park Gets Parked: The Yankees activated reliever, Chan Ho Park today, but maybe they should have waited another day. Park hasn’t pitched since April 13th and he blew the Yankees 7-6 seventh inning lead. He gave up back-to-back home runs to Kevin Youkilis and Victor Martinez. Before he was taken out, the fans voiced their displeasure with his outing. Maybe he needed to Pepto again.

Hughes, Dice K Battle: Neither Hughes nor Matsuzaka was good today. Hughes gave up five earned runs in only five innings. Matsuzaka gave up seven earned in 4 2/3 innings. Hughes’ command wasn’t horrible, but he left a few fastballs over the plate which led to home runs by J.D. Drew and David Ortiz. He walked only one hitter, but the Red Sox fouled off a ton pitches which led to a high uptick in his pitch count (105 total in five innings).

Blowing the Lead: The Yankees had a comfortable 6-1 lead after two innings today. However, David Ortiz’s fourth inning solo shot and J.D.’s fifth inning, three-run home run cut the deficit to 6-5. We all know better than to trust an early lead in a Red Sox-Yankee game.

Fans Leaving Early?: With the Yanks down 9-7 heading into the 9th inning, there was a mass exodus going on in the stadium. If people are truly Yankee fans and saw all of the walk off wins last season, why leave early? Even yesterday proved that the game’s best closers can be vulnerable. If you leave early, you deserve what you get.

Interesting Facts:

Everybody Hits: Every Yankees starter recorded a hit in the contest.

4 for 4: Brett Gardner is 4 for 4 in his career against Jonathan Papelbon.

33: David Ortiz’s fourth inning home run snapped a 33 inning homer-less streak by Phil Hughes.

4: The number of Vazquez threw in order to record the victory. He needed to throw 107 pitches in his only other victory this season (at Oakland).

August 6, 2004: This was Javy Vazquez’s last regular season win in New York.

Fan Graphs Win Projection; Enjoy the Ride

What’s Next?:

The Yankees will look to sweep the Red Sox tomorrow in this two-game set. The weather is expected to be a little dicey, so check back before game time to see if they’re going to play.

Tuesday, 7:05 PM, YES: Josh Beckett (1-1, 7.46 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (4-2, 3.71 ERA)

Last Start:
Beckett: (May 7th vs. Yankees): Loss, 5 1/3 innings, nine runs, eight strikeouts.
Sabathia: Loss, six innings, six runs, four strikeouts.

Career:
Beckett: 9-6, 5.96 ERA (4-2, 5.66 ERA at Yankee Stadium)
Sabathia: 5-5, 3.74 ERA

The Beckett-Sabathia match-up is a re-match from Opening Night. A game the Red Sox won, 9-7.

One Side Note: Nick Johnson will be undergoing surgery on his injured wrist on Tuesday morning. He won’t be able to resume baseball activities for 4-6 weeks. Don’t expect NJ to be back until August at the earliest.