As part of Rivalry Week at SB Nation, we here at Pinstripe Alley have been discussing all things related to the Yankees and their various rivals. One angle that has not been examined, however, is the weirdest games in rivalry history.
As Pinstripe Alley’s self-appointed weird baseball expert, I considered it my duty to write about the weirdest game in Yankees-Red Sox history. For that, let’s go back to a game that started on April 10, 2015, although it didn’t end on that day.
After dropping two of three to the Blue Jays, the Yankees welcomed Boston to the Bronx for their second series of the season. Offseason acquisition Nathan Eovaldi was given the ball to make his first start as a Yankee, while the Red Sox sent Wade Miley to the hill.
Eovaldi’s Yankee career started on a bit of a sour note as he allowed three hits and a run in his very first inning in pinstripes. He settled down somewhat for a couple innings after that. However, he would be knocked out in the sixth after losing the strike zone and throwing a couple wild pitches and a walk, in addition to allowing to a pair of singles. That plated two more Red Sox runs and knocked Eovaldi out after 5.1 innings.
The Yankees’ offense had just two base runners through the first five innings, but they finally got something going in the sixth. Yankee legend Gregorio Petit led off the frame with a walk and came around to score on a Alex Rodriguez single a couple batters later. Brian McCann also brought home Brett Gardner on a sac fly to get the Yankees back within a run.
Chris Martin, Justin Wilson, and Dellin Betances combined to keep Boston off the board for the next couple innings and the Yankees went into the ninth down a run. Edward Mujica came in and retired the first two hitters fairly quickly, leaving the game up to Chase Headley. With the stadium already somewhat emptied, Headley tied the game with a shot into the second deck in right, truly kicking off what would be a very long night.
Andrew Miller came in for the 10th and walked the go-ahead run into scoring position, but managed to escape with the tie game intact. That would be a theme for both teams over the next couple innings. The Red Sox stranded two runners in the 11th. The Yankees had a runner in scoring position with just one out in the 11th. Same story for the Red Sox in the 13th, but neither team could deliver the big blow.
One team finally broke through in the 16th, but unfortunately, it was Boston. After 3.1 valiant scoreless innings from Chasen Shreve, who was making just his second appearance as a Yankee, Esmil Rodgers came in. He got two outs to close the 15th, but then allowed a homer to David Ortiz when he came back out for the 16th.
After having already used all the good pieces in the bullpen and still not been able to pull off a win, it would’ve been understandable if the Yankees were demoralized and just couldn’t do much to respond. Instead, Mark Teixeira led off the bottom of the 16th with a homer to tie the game again. A walk to Headley and a single by Stephen Drew, of all people, brought the potential winning run to third. At this point, it was well after midnight and all of the PSA staff group chat and comment section were just praying for an end in some form or fashion. It did not happen, as Didi Gregorius grounded out to end the inning.
In the 18th, Rogers got himself in more trouble. With two runners on, Pablo Sandoval singled to give the Red Sox the lead again. However, Hanley Ramirez was thrown out trying to advance to third. That loomed large when Mike Napoli then popped out to end the inning, restricting Boston to just one run.
With it getting later and later, the chorus among fans and writers was again “two runs or nothing please.” Again, that wouldn’t happen. Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran each doubled, tying the game. However, Beltran would be stranded, and the teams essentially started their third game of the day as it moved to the 19th.
Rogers again got in trouble in the 19th, eventually allowing a sac fly to give the Red Sox the lead. In the bottom half of the inning, the Yankees appeared as if they might be able to mount yet another rally when speedy Jacoby Ellsbury singled. Two batters later, Garrett Jones, who had pinch-run for Rodriguez a full eight innings ago, grounded into a game-ending double play. The Red Sox had won nearly seven hours after the game had started.
There have been plenty of other weird and wild games in the long history of the Yankees and the Red Sox. However, the sheer amount of rallies and some of the extremely random named involved make this one the weirdest.