Penny vs. Sabathia. Didn’t seem like a level pitching match up. I think a lot of us fans weren’t truly expecting to win last night. Hoping, but not sure if we believed in Penny enough.
But then Penny pitched a gem of a game. A quality start and more. And Ortiz blasted another homer, causing fans everywhere to scream in joyful delight for the long-slumping Big Papi, who seems to have finally found at least part of his groove again. His home run gave the Red Sox a slim one run lead, which held for quite some time.
Then the Yankees scored some runs, pulling ahead in the 7th. Red Sox Nation groaned, wondering if the streak of wins against the Yankees was going to end. We had time to get it back, it’s not over, our guys can do it. We held our breath, we hollered at our screens, we pounded fists on tables, we wrote furious notes back and forth via whatever internet social network we had chosen to express ourselves.
Then Rocco Baldelli made a fantastic catch in center field in the top of the 8th, and along with relief pitcher Saito’s strikeouts, that helped keep the Yankee lead from growing.
And then in the bottom of the 8th, Nick Green hit a single. And Pedroia toughed out an amazing 10 pitch at bat to finally wear out Sabathia and gain base via a walk.
Then JD Drew got a hit and Green scored. Jason Bay hit and scored Pedroia. Mike Lowell managed a sacrifice that scored Drew. Suddenly Boston was ahead again, 4-3. Red Sox were making another bid for a comeback win, and as always it felt tingly-dramatic.
Then Jonathan Papelbon, the star closer, walked to the mound at the top of the 9th.
He got some help from Nick Green, who made a stunning, superb grab/spin/toss of a hard liner, stealing a base hit away from Yankee lead-off batter Derek Jeter.
Two more Yankees came to the plate - and two more Yankees were gone.
Red Sox beat the Yankees to sweep the 3 game series. More importantly, the Red Sox have played the Yankees eight times so far in this season, and they’ve beat them eight times. It’s a grand feeling, beating an “arch nemesis” like that. We can feel smug, we can revel in the emotion of being First. Oh, we all know it cannot and will not last…the Yankees have too many good players, and they must win against Boston someday. But the Red Sox/Yankees don’t play against each other again for a couple months - and in the meantime, it is glorious.