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86 Greatest Moments vs. Boston #49-40

November 21, 2012

#44 | The Yanks and Sox brawl as hostilities are renewed in 1973 (Corbis)

#49 | Guidry’s 2-Hitter | 9/15/1978

Ron Guidry continued one of the greatest individual seasons in Major League history, 2-hitting Boston to move to 22-2 on the season.  In his incredible 8th shutout of 1978, the eventual Cy Young winner baffled the potent Sox, allowing just 2 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5.  Beyond the great personal achievement, the game was important as the rivals began the day separated by just 1.5 games in the battle for AL East supremacy.  A 4-run fourth inning, fueled by back-to-back home runs by Chris Chambliss and Graig Nettles, was all the cushion “Gator” needed in the 4-0 victory.

#48 | Yanks Clinch Pennant | 9/23/55

On the penultimate day of the regular season, the Yanks clinched the pennant over the Cleveland Indians with a 3-2 victory over the Sox.  Don Larsen was brilliant in his biggest start of the season, allowing a lone run in 6.1 innings.  Whitey Ford closed the game with 2.2 innings of 1-run ball.  Gil McDougald, Joe Collins, and Eddie Robinson each recorded RBIs to pace the Yankee offense to a 3-2 win.

#47 | Mantle’s Final Home Run | 9/20/1968

In the final long ball of his Hall of Fame career, Mickey Mantle slugged a 3rd inning shot off of Boston’s Jim Lonborg for #536.  One week later he would stride off the field at Fenway Park in his final game as a Yankee.

#46 | “19-18!” | 9/23/1990

During a late season matchup at the Stadium, Yankees fans began taunting the Sox with chants of, “19-18!” a nod to the last season in which they won the World Series.  It would become a staple of Yankees/Red Sox matchups for years to come.  The Yanks also won the game 5-4.

#45 | 7 HR | 5/30/1961

In the 2nd most impressive power display in team history, the Yanks mashed 7 home runs at Fenway in a 12-3 victory.  Bill Skowron, Roger Maris, and Mickey Mantle each went deep twice while Yogi Berra added one for good measure.  The 1939 Yankees still hold the record for long balls in a game, mashing 8 home runs against Philadelphia on June 28th.

#44 | Munson vs. Fisk | 8/1/1973

The Yankees and Sox were tied for 1st place leading up to a big matchup at Fenway on August 1st.  In a 2-2 game in the top of the 9th, Gene Michael stood at home plate with Felipe Alou on 1st and Thurman Munson on 3rd.  Munson broke for home as John Curtis went into his wind-up, anticipating a suicide squeeze, but when Michael missed the pitch Munson was left with 1 option: jar the ball from Carlton Fisk‘s grasp.  Michael, attempting to aid his charging teammate, stepped in the way of Fisk, but the Boston backstop shoved him out of the way and braced for Munson.  Munson lowered his shoulder into Fisk and remained on top of him, trying to allow Alou to move into scoring position, a move Fisk did not appreciate.

Fisk kicked Munson off and took a swipe with his fist.  Michael responded by grabbing Fisk, who threw him down to the ground.  Munson came to his teammate’s aid, hitting Fisk with a barrage of punches to the head and body like a prize fighter smelling a knockout.  In the locker room after the game, a charged up Munson told the assembled press, “Go ask him who won the fight, he knows.”

#43 | Martin’s Debut | 4/18/1950

On opening day 1950 Billy Martin made his Major League debut, going 2-for-2 and recording 3 RBIs… in 1 inning.  The Bombers entered the 8th inning trailing 10-4, but Martin ignited a thrilling comeback with a 1-out double that scored Yogi Berra.  Martin would bookend the 9-run inning with a 2-run single off of Al Papai to give New York an improbable 13-10 advantage.  The Yanks would win the game 15-10.

#42 | Elberfield Swipes Home Twice | 5/31/1907

In a 4-1 Highlander victory on Huntington Avenue, shortstop Kid Elberfield stole home twice.  He would steal just 22 bases in 120 games that season, but his 2 swipes on that day came up huge for New York.  (Beat that Jacoby Ellsbury.)

#41 | Blanchard Pitches In | 7/21/1961

Trailing 8-7 with 2 away in the 9th, Johnny Blanchard strode to the plate in place of Clete Boyer with Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Bill Skowron on base.  Blanch came through with a grand slam off of Mike Fornieles to give the Yanks a thrilling 11-8 win and help them maintain a half game lead over Detroit in the AL pennant race.

#40 | Boston Massacre Redux | 8/18–8/21/2006

Trailing the Yankees in the AL East race by 1.5 in the waning days of August, the Sox needed something to get them over the hump after losing possession of 1st place on August 3rd.  A 5-game set at Fenway looked like the right prescription.  After a rainout earlier in the season, it was determined that the Yankees and Sox would play a double-header to lead-off a weekend series, giving Boston 5 consecutive games against the Yankees within the cozy confines of Fenway Park.  With the knowledge that they had this series in their back pocket, the Sox knew if they could simply keep the race close they could use this pivotal series to propel them to their 1st AL East crown since 1995.  Things did not turn out the way they had pictured.

The Yanks won the first 4 games by a combined score of 47-25 going into the 5th game of the series on a Monday afternoon.  The Yanks built a 2-0 lead on a Bobby Abreu double and a wild pitch by Keith Foulke that scored Nick Green.  Scott Proctor gave a run back in the 8th on a home run by Wily Mo Pena, but Kyle Farnsworth pitched a 1-2-3 9th to secure 2-1 win and a sweep reminiscent of the 1978 late-season sweep dubbed “The Boston Massacre.”  When the dust had settled the Yankees left Beantown with a 6.5 game lead, eventually winning their 9th consecutive AL East title by 10 games.

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