- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 9, 2009

‘EIGHTH WIND’ — AND MANY MORE NUMBERS

Even if you think the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees gets too much attention, it’s hard not to be amazed by the crazy statistics that came out of Friday’s marathon.

It all ended with Alex Rodriguez’s two-run homer in the 15th inning just before 1 a.m., a two-run shot into left-center that ended this game after 5 hours, 33 minutes.

That’s not a typo. This was almost a six-hour game — and A-Rod’s homer drove in the only runs of the game. On an excellent night of games that featured two more walk-offs and a bevy of comebacks, this one will go down as a classic.

By the time it was over, 14 pitchers combined to throw 494 pitches, taking part in 97 at-bats.

“As soon as we got to that 14th inning,” Yankees reliever Phil Coke said, “I caught my eighth wind.”

Junichi Tazawa, who gave up the winner, made his major league debut and was the last pitcher in Boston’s bullpen. Oh yeah, the Red Sox became the first team in major league history to use three Japanese pitchers in one game — Hideki Okajima and Takashi Saito also worked in relief.

“As far as making my major league debut, I’m very happy. I was honored to be in such an important situation,” Tazawa said through an interpreter. “I wish I could have done a little better.”

Before Tazawa, whoever went out there to pitch seemed to have things rolling. The 14 pitchers recorded 28 strikeouts, and hitters went 0-for-19 with runners in scoring position. Amid all that, there were only two extra-base hits — the second one coming to end the game.

It was the first time — among the thousands of games played between the Red Sox and Yankees — that the score was 0-0 going into the 15th inning. If that’s not enough, Rodriguez snapped his season-worst drought of 72 at-bats without a home run and tied Harmon Killebrew for ninth on the all-time list with 573.

HE SAID WHAT?

“I definitely was a little bit careless back in those days… but I never bought steroids or used steroids.” — Boston slugger David Ortiz

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