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Friday, September 16, 2016

1968: Red Sox score 6 in 8th, beat Yanks 11-10. Hey, like last night: deja vu all over again!

Last night's game and one from 1968 are why I hate Fenway Park and the Red Sox. I hadn't thought about the 1968 game for a long time but the sting of losing last night had me search for it.

Mel Stottlemyre, the top Yankee starting pitcher, was cruising after a rough start leading 10-5 through 7. Red Sox manager Dick Williams pulled his top player, Carl Yastrzemski, after 6, giving up. But the Red Sox scored 6 runs in the 8th to win 11-10. I had remembered it as the 9th inning. But I just looked at the 9th and saw even more anguish: Mickey Mantle led off with a single and Horace Clarke pinch ran. Andy Kosco flied out. Clarke was then doubled off when Tom Tresh lined out to second, ending the game.

In 1967 Yastrzemski had suddenly become a power hitter. He tied Harmon Killebrew for most American League (AL) home runs with 44 and Yaz also led in BA and RBI for the triple crown. Boston lost the World Series (WS) to Cincinnati in seven games. In 1968 Stottlemyre was on his way to his second of three 20 win seasons. From 1965 through 1973 Stottlemyre pitched between 251 and 303 innings every season. Then in 1974 at age 32 his arm gave out after 113 innings and he never pitched again. He was the pitching coach on five WS winning teams: one with the Mets and four with the Yankees.

Thursday, May 16, 1968, 7:35PM, Fenway Park
Attendance: 22,879, Time of Game: 2:55
Red Sox (16-15) 11, Yankees (13-19) 10
Yes, the Yankee third baseman was Hall of Fame Braves manager Bobby Cox, who opened the flood gates by making an error on the first batter in the ill fated 8th inning. Both Stottlemyre and relief pitcher Joe Verbanic each faced three batters, retiring none. Verbanic tool the loss and the final Yankee pitcher, Dooley Womack, blew the save without allowing a hit.

In his final season was former Yankee MVP catcher Elston Howard, playing for the Red Sox.

On to 2016.

Thursday, September 15, 2016, 7:10pm, Fenway Park
Attendance: 37,767, Time of Game: 3:52 (almost one hour longer than 1968)

Red Sox (82-64) 7, Yankees (77-69) 5

The Yankees started a four game series in Fenway Park four games behind the first place Red Sox. These Yankees, too, started their best pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched seven innings and led 5-1, only one fewer runs than the lead held by Stottlemyre in 1968.

Boston scored one in the 8th off Adam Warren on career home run 537 by David Ortiz, giving Ortiz one more than Mantle.

Yankee relief ace Dellin Betances was the third Yankee pitcher in the ninth, entering with one out, one on and a three run lead. Walk, out, Ortiz RBI single. 5-3. Mookie Betts RBI single. 5-4. Passed ball: runners on second and third. Hanley Ramirez three run homer to center. Five runs on three hits. Red Sox win 7-5.

As the great Yogi (Yogi Berra) is supposed to have said: "It's deja vu all over again".

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