Castillo Ninth Inning Drop Leads To Miraculous Win For Yanks Over Mets

Published on: 12th June, 2009

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New York Yankees vs New York Mets
Castillo Ninth Inning Drop Leads To Miraculous Win For Yanks Over Mets

New York Yankees vs New York Mets. June 13, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY. Mets Luis Castillo heads to first on grounder fielded by Yanks Jorge Posada. Original Filename: _HS29383T8.jpg  | read this item

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The Yankees won tonight in one of the most improbable, inexplicable endings in baseball history. Yes, fans, that sounds like a big, overly dramatic statement to make about a game played on June 12th, but this one was amazing.

It was the ninth inning of tonight’s opener of the Yankees-Mets series at the new Yankee Stadium and the Mets held an 8-7 lead after a see-saw battle all night. There were two outs, runners on first and second and Mark Texeira was the next batter. Mets manager Jerry Manuel opted to intentionally walk the hot-hitting Texeira to allow his star relief pitcher, Francisco Rodriguez to pitch to the struggling Alex Rodriguez, once the most-feared hitter in the game but at that moment, saddled with a .227 batting average.

You want drama? You were getting it in droves with the Francisco Rodriguez – Alex Rodriguez confrontation.  K-Rod pitching to A-Rod to end the game for the Mets.

K-Rod worked a 3-1 count when he threw A-Rod a low fastball. A-Rod swung late at the offering, popping it up high into the sky in the direction of Mets second baseman, Luis Castillo. Castillo is a veteran and as sure-handed a second-sacker as there is. He ambled back into short right field, had a bead on the ball as he backed up. The ball landed on Castillo’s glove, extended into the air to meet the dropping ball. Instead of using two hands as we’ve all been taught since we could lift a glove, Castillo tried to one-hand it and inexplicably, the ball popped off of his glove and dropped to the ground.

 

“As soon as I slid in, I hugged Jete and I said, `What just happened?’ because I couldn’t believe it,” Teixeira said.

 

David Wright had put the Mets ahead 8-7 with an eighth-inning double off Mariano Rivera (1-2), and Francisco Rodriguez (1-1) appeared to escape a ninth-inning jam on the popup by A-Rod, just 1 for 17 in his career off K-Rod, including the postseason.

 

But Castillo kept drifting toward the foul line and allowed the ball to pop out of his glove as he tried for a one-handed catch on the right field grass. The Yankees ran onto the field to celebrate.

 

A few minutes later, Castillo sat alone in the visitor’s clubhouse, leaning forward, his elbows on his knees, his head resting on his hands. His eyes were reddening.

 

A three-time Gold Glove winner, Castillo called it a “routine fly ball.”

To his credit, Castillo didn’t hide out in the trainer’s room to avoid the press coverage that was inevitably waiting for him at his locker. He stood up to the cameras and the bright lights of the New York media afterwards.

“I feel bad, I feel bad for myself,” said a distraught Castillo. “It was a routine fly ball and I made a mistake. I feel bad, I feel bad. I have to catch that ball, I have to make that play. Tomorrow, I’ll try to be ready for the next game.”

 

It was yet another stunning defeat for the Mets, who keep finding new ways to lose. They lost to Florida on April 12 when left fielder Daniel Murphy dropped Cody Ross‘ fly ball. And on May 18 they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers after Ryan Church missed third base en route to not scoring the go-ahead run in the 11th inning.

 

“We’ll have to fight through this,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “This is definitely a tremendous test for us.”

 

Both teams came in staggering. The Yankees had been swept in a three-game series at Boston’s Fenway Park and the Mets lost to Philadelphia in extra innings on consecutive days.

 

“Of course, we feel like we just stole one,” Jeter said. “We were lucky. That’s just the bottom line.”

 

Jeter had singled with one out and stole second as pinch-hitter Johnny Damon struck out on the ninth pitch. Teixeira was intentionally walked and Alex Rodriguez got ahead 3-0 before taking a strike and then popping up.

 

Teixeira focused on third base coach Rob Thomson and ran hard from first the entire way. He easily beat shortstop Alex Cora‘s relay from Castillo.

 

“When he started waving me, I, you know, put it into second gear,” Teixeira said. “I don’t have a third, fourth and fifth.”

 

It was the first blown save by K-Rod in 17 chances this season.

 

“I still don’t believe it,” A-Rod said. “I couldn’t believe what I saw. I’ve never seen that before.”

 

On a night the Mets brought some real energy to Yankee Stadium, known thus far for home runs and empty premium seats, the crowd of 47,967 was the largest since opening day but again short of a sellout. Fans saw five more home runs at the Bronx bandbox, raising the total to a major league-leading 110 in 30 games.  

Castillo Drops The Ball

 

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