If the New York Yankees get hot, close the gap in the AL wild card standings and eventually make it into the postseason, we might point back to their game Thursday night with the Boston Red Sox as a momentum builder.
The Red Sox hit three homers earlier in the game, but the Yankees got two in the most crucial moments — Mark Teixeira hit one in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at four, then two batters later Chase Headley hit a walk-off blast to give the Yankees a 5-4 win.
''Two home runs in the ninth — it used to happen a lot more,'' Teixeira said. ''It's a huge win. You feel like you kind of stole one.''
The Yankees still need to steal a few more, but it's September, so every win is a good win. Sure, it's a little nicer when it comes against the rival Red Sox, but the Yankees' real goal is overcoming the four-game deficit they're facing for the second AL wild card spot.
David Ortiz had two homers for the Red Sox, in the first and third innings. Yankees starter Chris Capuano lasted just 4 1/3 innings. So things didn't look too great for the Yankees early on. But a two-run double by Derek Jeter in the bottom of the third helped keep them close.
''It's a great win, and we needed it,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ''And we're going to need a lot more.''
THE CARDINALS STRIKE FIRST AGAINST BREWERS
In a crucial series between two teams going in very different directions, the St. Louis Cardinals struck first, beating the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 and seizing a four-game lead in the NL Central. The Cardinals won their sixth straight game, while the Brewers, who had been in first most of the season, lost their ninth in a row.
Starting a four-game series against the Cards would have been the best time for the Brewers to stop their free fall, but the Cardinals pounced early, as Yadier Molina hit a two-run single in the first inning. Kolten Wong drove in another run for St. Louis in the third inning.
Michael Wacha returned for the Cardinals, pitching for the first time since June because of a shoulder injury. He only pitched three innings, but that's because he was 50 pitch limit. He'll throw 15-20 pitches more with each start. Wacha gave up three hits, one run and struck out three.
TIGERS SCORE SEVEN IN EXTRA INNINGS TO BEAT INDIANS
You might look at the score and wonder why the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians played 11 innings Thursday night. The Tigers won 11-4 and that looks nothing at all like a close game.
What really happened, however, was the Tigers laying down seven runs on the Tribe in the 11th inning. The rally included a three-run homer by Victor Martinez and two-run singles from Eugenio Suarez and Andrew Romine.
THE BLUE JAYS GET 1-0 WIN AGAINST RAYS
The Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays were locked in a 0-0 duel in the top of the 10th inning when Colby Rasmus came to the plate. Rasmus has fallen out of starting favor with the Jays and now plays intermittently. He was called upon to pinch hit Thursday and made the most of it.
Rasmus homered to start the 10th, eventually giving the Jays a 1-0 in a game in which starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and Jake Odorizzi both performed masterfully.
For the rest of Thursday's results, check out our scoreboard.
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