The NY Yankees got a dramatic walk off extra innings win against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Stadium last night when Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the eleventh with a home run into the right field seats, good for a 6-5 Yankees win over the team just behind them in the A.L. east standings.
Gardner's career-high 18th home run of the season may never have happened if not for an embarrassing infield "I got it, you take it" kind of play in the bottom of the 9th. With the Yankees trailing 5-4 Gardner tripled but was still at third base with two outs when Gary Sanchez hit a very playable ground ball that second baseman Tim Beckham, who had shifted to the shortstop side of second, and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria simply watched the ball bound between them, each thinking the other would make a play on the ball. That tied the game at five and two innings later Gardner sent the Bronx crowd home happy, despite the fact that his teammate Aaron Judge, who stands 6'7", had his tooth knocked out during the celebration at home plate. As fellow New York native Larry David might say, guys, curb your enthusiasm.
But the Yankees will more than take a lost tooth for the win, which pulls them within just half a game of the first place Boston Red Sox, who were idle last night but have a date with the red hot Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park tonight. David Price will take the hill for Boston and it's a big start for him, trying to bounce back from a loss in his last start and keep the Red Sox in first place. With their win last night, the Yanks also pushed the Rays to three games out of first.
In San Diego, the Padres now have back to back wins over the NY Mets after a 7-5 victory last night, despite what manager Andy Green called a "sloppy, ugly performance" by his club. Green was less than pleased to watch his team commit a number of mental errors including Wil Myers getting a late start and getting thrown out at home on a double-steal, Luis Torrens trotting off the field thinking there were three outs when there were only two, and Corey Spangenberg bunting the ball to the pitcher to get a runner thrown out at home. Still, there was a lot to like, such as Manuel Margot finishing a triple shy of the cycle and the first home run by Padres rookie Dusty Coleman. Brad Hand picked up his fifth save and has now gone 18 and a third innings without giving up a run and a lot of contending teams will be knocking on the Padres door trying to obtain the reliever before the July 31st trading deadline, but for now the Padres, and why not throw another Seinfeld reference into the sports report, still have Hand. Jay Bruce did his 26th home run for the Mets in the losing cause, and here's hoping that his next home run comes while wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform. Dave Dombrowski hasn't returned any of my calls yet for trying to pry Bruce from the Mets, but I understand, he's probably just busy making it happen and will thank me in due time.
The Toronto Blue Jays will probably still be sellers before the trade deadline, but they have won four in a row now, completing a four-game sweep of the Oakland A's at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, doing it again with the drama of the home run, a grand slam by Steve Pearce in the bottom of the 10th that gave Toronto an 8-4 win. Kendrys Morales hit the game winning home run one night earlier, and added two more last night. The Jays are still in last place in the A.L. east, but if they could just play Oakland every night they might not be.
The top two teams in the NY Penn League's Stedler division met in Connecticut last night, the first of six meetings between the Vermont Lake Monsters and Connecticut Tigers over the next week and a half that will determine who will lead the division down the season's home stretch.
Game one went the way of the Togers thanks to a six-run fifth inning, and the Lake Monsters first place lead over their division rivals is now down to a game and a half.
In the NECBL, Michael Alescio hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first and the Ocean State Waves never looked back, tagging the Vermont Mountaineers with a 7-2 loss in Rhode Island last night. Waves starter Ben Onyshko kept the Mountaineers hitless until the top of the sixth when he gave up two singles and Vermont got its first run of the game on an RBI single by Michael Hartnagel.
In White River Junction the Upper Valley Nighthawks scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the eighth when Matt Sanders doubled home Matt Rothenberg and Upper Valley held on to beat the Sanford Mainers 1-0. Cameron Alldred pitched a gem, giving up just three hits and no runs through seven innings of work for the first place Nighthawks.
More changing of the guards for some local high school coaching positions. The Burlington Free Press reports that Aubrey Ouellet has been hired as the new head coach for Rice Memorial's girl's varsity soccer program, filling the slot left vacant by Shawntel Burke, who took the job as head coach of the girl's soccer varsity at Milton high school. This all follows yet another shift when Cory Payson took over at South Burlington, stepping in following Rob Cole being hired to coach the Champlain Valley boy's soccer team.