For fans of the Yankees who know this writer, they know his favorite game is September 22, 2012. That game was absolutely upside down and crazy in a win that the Yankees would take in 14 innings. That game had everything, including a hero in Raul Ibanez. That was six years ago. This September 22 in 2018, there was a lot of similarities in a game between them and the New York Yankees. Let us look at these two games on September 22, two years apart in a Wayback Wednesday-style article.
Heading into September 22, 2012, the New York Yankees were 88-63, fresh off a 2-1 walk-off win in 10 innings on a home run by Russell Martin. David Robertson got the win that day. The two starting pitchers that day were Travis Blackley for the Oakland Athletics and Ivan Nova for the Yankees. It was clear from the beginning that Ivan Nova did not have it. Stephen Drew, Seth Smith and Yoenis Cespedes wasted no time putting two runs on the board with three straight triples.
The bottom of the first was not much better for the Oakland Athletics. After Derek Jeter flew out, the red-hot Ichiro Suzuki homered. Alex Rodriguez walked and moved to second on a balk by Blackley. Robinson Cano singled and scored A-Rod. After Casey McGehee struck out, the Yankees added on another one after Jayson Nix reached on an E5, later changed to a single, scoring Cano. The Yankees now had a 3-2 lead heading into the 2nd inning. The As went down in order in the second while the Yankee scored another run on singles and errors.
The next inning, Stephen Drew homered, then Ivan Nova walked the bases loaded with Smith, Cespedes and Chris Carter. Joe Girardi hooked Nova and replaced him with sidearmer Clay Rapada. Rapada cleaned up the mess Nova made and left the game at 4-3 Yankees. However, the fourth inning would not get much better, as Rapada gave up hits to tie the game at 4 each. Derek Lowe replaced Rapada in the 4th and finished the job.
It would stick to 4-4 through the bottom of the 5th inning when Raul Ibanez came in to pinch hit for Casey McGehee. This would start one of the craziest games in Yankee history at this point. Ibanez took Jim Miller deep and made it 5-4 Yankees. The score would remain the same until the top of the 7th when Lowe and Boone Logan allowed a run to score to tie the game. After that, the game would remain 5-5 into extras. Eventually it became a game of Freddy Garcia and Evan Scribner.
In the top of the 11th for the Yankees, Garcia allowed a single to Stephen Drew, a sac fly to Jonny Gomes, Cespedes to pop up. However, the Yankees intentionally walked Brandon Moss and Chris Carter unintentionally walked. Then the game-saving catch was made by Steve Pearce, who replaced Nick Swisher at first base after a pinch runner came in. Facing Josh Reddick, Garcia gave up a liner that ended like this.
The Yankees could not capitalize on the momentum and things went haywire in the 13th. Freddy Garcia gave up a single to right by Drew, then a 2-run home run by Gomes. Cespedes went back to back and Girardi hooked Garcia for journeyman Justin Thomas. Thomas got one out, and then gave up a home run to Chris Carter. Now it was 9-5 Athletics. Thomas finally got two more outs to end the inning.
The 13th for the Athletics did not go any better. Pedro Figueroa replaced Evan Scribner, allowing a single to Ichiro, A-Rod and Cano back to back to back. Bob Melvin hooked Figueroa for Pat Neshek. Neshek threw a wild pitch, scoring Ichiro. Eduardo Nunez hit a sacrifice fly to score Alex Rodriguez. Then, the hero earlier, Raul Ibanez, came up to the plate. With a good history against Pat Neshek, the YES booth expected this.
Yet another homer for Ibanez tied the game back at 9. Cory Wade held off the Athletics in the top of the 14th. With Tyson Ross on the mound in relief, the Yankees mounted a walk-off win twice, or so we thought. Eric Chavez singled and departed for pinch-runner Melky Mesa. Jeter sacrifice bunted Mesa to second. Ross intentionally walked the red-hot Ichiro. Rodriguez singled to center and Cespedes picked the ball up expecting the game to end. Not so fast, Melky Mesa, making his MLB debut, missed third base on the route by. A colossal blunder that nerves fueled. Regardless, no out was recorded.
A dejected Melky Mesa got forced at home on a grounder by Robinson Cano. The next batter is Eduardo Nunez. Nunez then hits a grounder that Brandon Moss booted, scoring Ichiro from third. The Yankees won in 14, 10-9. It immediately became a classic, holding their lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.
Fast forward to the Yankees of 2018, the game on September 22, 2018 had some interesting replications. For one, the Yankees blew a lead of 2-0 to the Baltimore Orioles. It happens. Similar to the 2012 game, the Yankees bullpen held off the Orioles for a while. In the top of the 10th, Jonathan Holder came in and caused the bases to be loaded, escaping it on a catch by Luke Voit who pulled his best Steve Pearce impression.
The Yankees then walked it off in the 11th on an Aaron Hicks double. However, the similarities did not escape this writer, noting that the Yankees clinched on a walk-off on September 22.
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