At 7:05, the Red Sox and Yankees kicked off their season series with Wade Miley facing off against Nathan Eovaldi. Seven hours and ten minutes later, it's hard to believe any of that actually happened. It was the longest game in franchise history by time. 19 grueling innings that finally ended in a 6-5 Red Sox victory, however maddening the road may have been.
Amusingly enough, this game actually got off to a remarkably quick start. The Red Sox pulled ahead 1-0 in the first on a Pablo Sandoval single driving in Dustin Pedroia, then held onto that lead for five innings behind an impressive Wade Miley. Working fast on the mound, Miley was untouchable through three, then worked around a bit of trouble in the fourth and fifth to keep the Yankees scoreless.
The top of the sixth would see Daniel Nava pad Boston's lead with a two-run single just off of Mark Teixeira's outstretched glove at first, scoring Sandoval and Mike Napoli after a single and walk respectively. But as with Justin Masterson the night before, it was when given a decent cushion that Wade Miley struggled the most. Far from providing the shutdown inning teams want to see after scoring, Miley immediately gave up a walk and single, then saw the first New York run of the night come across on a base hit from Alex Rodriguez. Robbie Ross managed to limit the bleeding, allowing just a sacrifice fly after Miley walked the bases loaded, but the two runs of leeway had been used up in an instant.
Still, it looked like the one-run lead was going to hold. Alexi Ogando and Junichi Tazawa were both strong in relief, leaving just Edward Mujica and the ninth. Then two outs to go. Then one.
Then Mujica served up a meatball to Chase Headley, who hit a no-doubt bomb to right, and the night took a sudden, terrible turn.
On a normal night, extra innings might be a couple missed scoring opportunities and then a decisive inning. But Friday-into-Saturday was no normal night. Oh no. At first it was just a matter of more missed opportunities than usual. The Red Sox and Yankees traded zero after zero after zero. The Red Sox worked around a one-out double, the Yankees responded by surviving a leadoff single. Xander Bogaerts reached base and was stranded with remarkable regularity. There was even a 20-minute delay as a bank of lights went out in New Yankee Stadium. Through six extra frames, we had seen just about everything except for a run.
Then came the 16th. The glorious 16th! David Ortiz got a floating 87 MPH pitch from Esmil Rogers right down the middle, and planted it firmly in the seats in right field to put the Red Sox on top. It was a great few minutes before Steven Wright came out and surrendered a solo shot to Mark Teixeira on the fourth pitch of the bottom of the inning.
Then it was the 18th. The glorious 18th! Dustin Pedroia was hit by a pitch, moved to third on a single from Hanley Ramirez, then scored as Pablo Sandoval picked up the big base hit up the middle. Sure, Hanley was thrown out at third after a bit of really questionable baserunning, but it's not like Brian McCann would make the Red Sox pay by opening the bottom of the inning with a leadoff double, setting up the go-ahead run on a Carlos Beltran hit over the head of, sure enough, Hanley Ramirez.
Of course, as you may have surmised, that's exactly what happened.
And so the Red Sox and Yankees headed to the nineteenth, and Xander Bogaerts found himself on base for the fifth time in extra innings alone (a walk and four singles!), hoping this time the Red Sox could bring him in. Ultimately, he'd need to reach third more or less on his own, stealing second and moving along on a passed ball to Mookie Betts after a Ryan Hanigan walk. Finally, though, Betts managed to produce, lifting a fly ball to shallow center field, where Jacoby Ellsbury's weak arm proved unable to catch Bogaerts before he reached home.
That, of course, had to be it. The Yankees could not come back a third time to tie the game in extra innings.
Jacoby Ellsbury leadoff single. And Boston's heart rate collectively shoots through the roof.
Finally, though, Steven Wright managed to buckle down. Brett Gardner flew out to left, and a Garret Jones ground ball found Xander Bogaerts, who proved just as capable on defense as on offense in extra innings, flipping the ball to Dustin Pedroia to start a difficult, but decisive 6-4-3 double play.
At long last, it's over.