The Closer: Rivalry renewed

May, 18, 2010
5/18/10
2:24
AM ET
The Yankees beat the Red Sox 11-9 as Marcus Thames hit his first career walk-off home run off Jonathan Papelbon to cap a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth as the Yankees won their eighth straight home game over the Red Sox on Monday. It was also the first career walk-off home run allowed by Papelbon. Alex Rodriguez set the stage for Thames' heroics with a game-tying two run home run earlier in the ninth.

Other Notes

* Before Monday, Papelbon had NEVER allowed 4 ER in one game in his major-league career.

* Papelbon entered Monday's game having allowed just 2 hits in 30 at-bats vs right-handed batters (a single and a double). Monday, righties were 2-2 with 2 HR (and one hit-by-pitch).

* Papelbon has allowed 3 HR this season. All 3 have come vs the Yankees (other was Curtis Granderson on April 7). Papelbon has allowed 5 HR vs the Yankees in his career. That is tied with the Rays for the most by any team.


Why John Ely won:

- Command: With eight strikeouts and no walks on Monday, Ely now has 21 punchouts against zero free passes over his last three starts.
- Ely threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 25 batters he faced.
- Threw 18 changeups, nine with two strikes. All four plate appearances that ended with a changeup were strikeouts.
- Astros hitters took 11 swings against Ely's changeup, putting none of them in play. They missed on seven of their 11 swings against his changeup. Six of the seven misses were on pitches outside of the strike zone.


Why Johnny Cueto won:

- Four of his seven strikeouts came on pitches on the outside part of the strike zone.
- Brewers hitters swung and missed on 36 pct of outside offerings - league average is 23 pct.
- Three of his seven strikeouts were looking. All three called strikeouts were on fastballs down in the strike zone.


Hitter of the Night

Justin Morneau: 3-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI

Morneau is among the league's best hitters against offspeed pitches, batting .385 with six home runs (3rd and tied for 2nd respectively in MLB). He hadn't quite mastered the curveball entering last Tuesday but has torn it up of late, including going 2-2 with one home run tonight.

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