BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH: YANKEES 5 (0) – 3 RED SOX
It’s August. It’s Yankee Stadium. Boston vs. New York. It’s a soldout ballpark and a hell of a lot on the line.
The Red Sox have won eight straight. The Yankees slipping farther behind by the day, toward that crossroads that says: Accept your Wild Card fate!
Red Sox up 3-0. Four and a half games up in the A.L. East.
And, then, the beginnings of a rally. From the tip of Brett Gardner’s toe, center of Yankee Baseball Universe, for just a moment. Addison Reed flings a sharp curveball diving down and inside. Curling, curling, slamming down onto the end of Gardner’s shoe as he leaps YOW-ing half out of its way.
Umpire says “Ball.”
Gardner says “Challenge.”
Girardi says “Challenge.”
Is this how a rally starts? Is this how the Yankees turn this month around? Is this how the A.L. East was won?
The umpires gather, don headsets.
One of them grabs the ears with both hands.
“I’m serious,” he seems to say, “I can’t hear out my left headphone—turn that shit up!”
They run through the replays. Each angle, ten cameras trained on a toe. And on the Yankees broadcast, a conclusion: “Oh yeah! It’s hit the front of his toe, absolutely!”
The umpires signal so. Gardner trots on to first. And, all at once, the Bronx comes alive:
“Let’s go Yan-kees!”
Aaron Hicks draws a full count.
“Let’s go Yan-kees!”
fans at Yankee Stadium cheer the fact that Brett Gardner was struck on the foot by a pitch. what a scene
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) August 12, 2017
Reed throws a slider inside on the hands. Hicks spots it, flicks a quickened swing. And… hits the the goofiest of the goofy—the only place you’ll ever see it in baseball.
The Yankee Stadium Pop-Fly Home Run. 314 feet and a few inches. Down the line in right. Flicked his bat, skied it high, kept it just fair—and it’s gone, by a nose. Two-run home run.
3-2, Yankees down one.
Gary Sanchez comes up next and lines a base hit to left.
Aaron Judge walks.
The whole stadium on its feet. Sal Vulcano behind home plate, in the front row, leading the cheer.
Joe Kelly comes in. Didi Gregorius hacks his uppercut golf swing and lines a hard fastball to left-center. Sanchez sent home, rounding third…
Yankees tie it.
“This has been a sleeping offense, and all of a sudden, it has awakened!”
Didi hugs the first-base coach.
And then, Todd Frazier. Who, just… looks like a Yankee. Who should’ve been in New York this whole time. Who’s a Jersey kid. Jeter fan. Yankee guy.
And he loops a 101mph fastball to left center. The Yankees take the lead.
“That’s a huge four-spot you see in the bottom of the eighth inning for the New York Yankees.”
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) August 12, 2017
Headley strikes out. Ellsbury lines a single to right. And Ronald Torreyes lines a sac-fly ball to left field. Didi tags, Didi sores. Yankees up 5-3.
Didi dancing in the dugout with Torreyes.
A toe, a Hicks, a walk, a single, a single.
And then, the very next inning, Aroldis Champan on the mound, it’s Hicks again… Red Sox load the bases with no one out. Benintendi hits a deep fly ball to left. Hicks catches it as Betts tags and scores, whips it to third base, nails Eduardo Nunez by an inch.
The Few The Proud The Aaron Hicks 7-5 sac fly double play from The Outfield pic.twitter.com/JKPkwy6OYS
— Play Ball (@iLetsPlayBall) August 12, 2017
A toe, a 314.5, a throw.