Game 72: BAL vs. NYY — Walk-off glory

Okay, I certainly didn’t expect that kind of win. I mean, I’m always hoping for a last-minute victory, but that was rather fun to put a great twist on it.

Hiroki Kuroda started tonight’s game against Baltimore ended up pitching a no-decision, thanks to the slow creep of the Yankees offense. Actually, his outing wasn’t terrible. In fact, overall, it was pretty good for Kuroda this year — 107 pitches in 6 innings, allowing just 4 hits, 2 runs, and a walk, striking out 6 Oriole batters. Those runs came late for the Orioles in Kuroda’s last inning, his 6th. A double put a runner on to score on another double, before that runner would score on a single.

Like I said the Yankees offense was slow to start. After a quick 2-out Ellsbury single and RBI double by Mark Teixeira in the 1st, the Yankees clung to their 1-0 lead until that 6th inning of Kuroda’s. So in relief of Kuroda, the Yankees turned to Shawn Kelley in the 7th, keeping the score planted at 2-1 Orioles.

Kelley, Matt Thornton, and Dellin Betances split the 8th inning, each grabbing an out to hold off the Orioles. Then David Huff took over in the 9th. A fielding error and single put runners on the corners threatening to add tot he Orioles’ lead. A single pushed the Orioles up 3-1 by the middle of the 9th inning.

So it became last-inning rally time. And because it’s the Yankees or maybe it was because it’s Friday, the Yankees rallied and won. Gardner singled, and 2 outs later Teixeira walked and the remaining crowd of hopeful fans collectively prayed for a miracle. Brian McCann delivered a new sliver of hope with an RBI single. (3-2 Orioles) And then it’s Carlos Beltran with 3-1 count at-bat who knocks a long home run to left field for a 3-run walk-off home run so the Yankees could win the game 5-3.

Start spreading the news…

Also, today was the last day of HOPE Week. And today, a group of Yankees including Sabathia, Tanaka, McCann, Teixeira, Johnson, Ryan, Betances, Solarte, and Ramirez (plus extra tag-alongs former Yankee and current YES broadcaster John Flaherty and NFL players and brothers Devin and Jason McCourty) surprised 18-year-old Quai Jefferson and his mother Vaida at St. Joseph Regional High School in New Jersey. Eleven years ago, Vaida was diagnosed with MS, and Quai took over all household duties and daily routines so that his mom could focus on her health. Not yet a teenager, Quai added taking care of his mom and their house to his days of school and athletics, but he just accepted that this was his life, maintaining a positive attitude and laying a foundation of character and determination and courage for the now adult son.

Quai scored a college scholarship to the University of Delaware after graduating this year from St. Joseph. The Yankees recognized Quai for his outstanding example of maintaining a positive attitude and outlook, continuing to reach for your goal, while facing challenges as they come, no matter how daunting they seem. I don’t think Quai thinks of himself as inspirational, but rather as someone who made good choices in the midst of some pretty bad circumstances. And isn’t that really the definition of a hero? Someone who chose to do the right things, without seeking recognition or even their own legacy, in spite of the odds or terrible things one must face.

No, in my book, Quai Jefferson is a hero. And he’s just 18. Maybe that is inspirational to some people. I think it’s just a great example for kids to follow.

Go Yankees!

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