And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Pedroia fist pump.jpgRed Sox 9, Yankees 7:  The Yankees were supposed to have a great bullpen. The Red Sox weren’t supposed to have enough offense because of all that run prevention they had imported. Well, The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men gang aft agley, and all that. The Yankees blew a 5-1 lead. The Red Sox pounded out 12 hits, five of which went for extra bases. One of the Yankees runs — on the double steal — was the result of approximately 14 defensive mistakes on the same play, aptly pointed out by what I’m going to henceforth call ESPN’s “Matrix-vision.”

And I probably owe an apology. Before the game I kept claiming that it would be a turgid, boring and sloppy four-hour affair, and I was wrong about that.  It was a turgid, boring and sloppy three hour and forty-six minute affair.  But as Sox and Yankees purists have warned me, I shouldn’t complain. The additions of bad live singing by Stephen Tyler (“God Bless America”) and Neil Diamond (“Something that sounded almost but not quite entirely unlike ‘Sweet Caroline'”) only added to the pure, unspoiled majesty that is The Greatest Rivalry in All of Baseball.*

Oh, and the Red Sox’ magic number is 161.

*Why they didn’t have the best musical talent in the house performing last night is beyond me.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: