for this game

Yankees close down Stadium with victory over Orioles

Sep 22, 2008 - 6:45 AM BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- While Babe Ruth famously "built" Yankee Stadium, it was Jose Molina who closed it down.

Molina belted the go-ahead, two-run homer as the New York Yankees pulled the curtain on their 85-year-old ballpark with an emotional 7-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday night.

"It was kind of like the seventh game of the World Series, the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras - a little bit of everything," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "It's about the great players they've had here, and the fans. The fans are all behind this team. I think that was pretty self-evident with a lot of these guys of recent times who came back. They love their players here."

In possibly his final home start for the team, Andy Pettitte (14-14) hurled five innings for the Yankees, who played the final regular-season game at their historic park, where they won 26 world championships as tenants. The lefthander yielded three runs - two earned - and seven hits while striking out three and walking one.

Mariano Rivera, a star relief pitcher in all four of the team's most recent world championships, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning as the fans chanted his name and cameras flashed.

"It was a pretty special night. I don't think it could have been any better than it was. It was pretty much perfect," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who also was honored with a silver bat before the game for his record amount of hits at Yankee Stadium.

"Andy pitched well, we had the lead and we bring in Mo. You couldn't have scripted it any better for us."

To snap a 3-3 tie in a game that was almost an after-thought, Molina clubbed a towering homer to left-center field - the final blast at the "House that Ruth Built" - off rookie lefthander Chris Waters (3-4), who allowed five runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"It feels great. It's a special feeling," Molina said. "Nobody expected me to do that. Even me, I wasn't expecting it and, when you don't expect stuff, it just feels better."

The homer was just the 19th of Molina's career, a stark contrast to the team's first great home-run hitter, Ruth, who is third all-time with 714 career blasts.

This season, however, will not send the Stadium out with yet another title like those won by Ruth and his teammates.

Playoffs hopes are strictly mathematical for New York (85-71), which would be eliminated from contention with a loss or one win by the American League wild card-leading Boston Red Sox (91-64) in the final week. The Yankees end the season with a three-game series against the arch-rival Red Sox.

"We're still breathing, not by a lot, I understand that," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "This is when character shows up and, to me, this is when I like to watch people work and see the character in people."

But that didn't stem the excitement at the Stadium, which was sent off with much pomp and circumstance. Jeter made a final speech, imploring fans to take the park's great moments across the street to the new building. Jeter and the Yankees then took a lap around field to thanks all those in attendance.

"To be quite honest, I didn't know what I was going to say," Jeter said of his speech. "When I came out (of the game) with two outs in the ninth, I figured I needed to think of something.

"Basically, I just wanted to acknowledge the fans and I think that's the best thing to do because all the memories here are because of the fans. That's the message I wanted to get across."

The Yankees also orchestrated a lengthy pre-game ceremony, which brought back the greatest players in franchise history at each position and had them stand side-by-side on the field. Long-time public address announcer Bob Sheppard, who has missed much of the season due to health problems, presided over it.

"It was an awkward pre-game for me just from the standpoint I just wanted to see everybody and talk to everybody," Pettitte said. "I just wanted to enjoy it, what an unbelievable ceremony.

"It was really nice to see the opening ceremony that the Yankees' organization put on. That was really special. So, I wanted to see that and, as I was walking out to the bullpen was when they introduced Bernie (Williams), so that was awesome."

In another emotional moment, the family of recently passed former player and broadcaster Bobby Murcer jogged out to center field to stand next the son of fellow Oklahoma native and team legend Mickey Mantle.

To complete its center field triumvirate, the Yankees invited back Williams, who appeared at Yankee Stadium for the first time since retiring in a huff when the team didn't retain him as a free agent after the 2006 season.

Williams received the biggest ovation on a night drenched in applause. Pettitte and Jeter were both lured out for curtain calls, highlighting a bittersweet game with a playoff feel.

"Usually, when I am trying to get ready before the game, I am in the weight room by myself, trying to think about the game," Pettitte said. "I had all the TVs on in there so I could see it. I wanted to get as much as I could, soak it all in. During batting practice, I am usually by myself, and Bernie comes strolling in ... talking to Bernie and seeing (Scott) Brosius and stuff.

"It was great. It was just very special. I appreciate the fans so much. They've always been so great to me and, for me it's very unusual (to take a curtain call). Some of the guys were telling me to go out there, I wasn't going to go out there. So I said, 'What the heck.' It was special. It's going to be right up there as far as special nights."

While everyone knows about the past special baseball moments here, it should be noted that Yankee Stadium hosted some of the most famous events in history - including the first papal mass in North America, the Joe Louis-Max Schmeling fight in 1938 and the first sudden-death overtime contest in NFL history - the 1958 NFL Championship Game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants.

This night, however, was about baseball and even the current players took a little bit of the game with them before they left, snapping pictures on the field and grabbing some dirt from the mound as the stands remained filled for nearly 20 minutes after the final out.

"It was unbelievable," Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi said. "That's the one thing, this place is so electric with the fans here. You get to play in front of a packed house every night that absolutely loves the game. You cannot ask for any more as a baseball player."

As for what happened on the field, Johnny Damon gave New York a 3-2 lead with a three-run homer in the third inning. Brian Roberts tied the game in the following inning for Baltimore before Molina's blast in the bottom of the frame.

Giambi and Robinson Cano each had an RBI in the seventh for the Yankees, who used four pitchers in the final four innings, including Joba Chamberlain for 1 2/3 frames to set the stage for Rivera's dramatic entrance in the ninth.

"I was thankful, actually, to be on the mound for the last out," Rivera said. "I didn't know what to expect. I definitely didn't know. I wanted to be there.

"I was so caught up with emotion, I think I got there faster than normal. I was trying to hold on but I couldn't, it was amazing. It was a great moment."






  • mark ESPN really did a great job with this tonight.

    Orioles 3, Yankees 7  FinalSep 22 1:54 AM
  • SuketoKetchi What a magical night.

    Orioles 3, Yankees 7  FinalSep 22 1:26 AM
  • craftmafia Yankees Win!!!!! THUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHH Yankees win!

    Orioles 3, Yankees 7  FinalSep 21 11:42 PM


  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BALTIMORE 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 7 1
    NY YANKEES 0 0 3 2 0 0 2 0 x 7 9 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: BAL - CHRIS WATERS, LANCE CORMIER (6TH), JAMIE WALKER (7TH), ROCKY
    CHERRY (7TH) AND RAMON HERNANDEZ
    NYY - ANDY PETTITTE, JOSE VERAS (6TH), PHIL COKE (6TH),
    JOBA CH

    Sep 21 11:41 PM
  • craftmafia SANDMAN!!

    Orioles 3, Yankees 7  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 21 11:33 PM
  • craftmafia What a flashback it was to have Michael Kay call the game. I used to go to the games and listen to Sterling and Kay on the radio while sitting in the stands.

    Orioles 3, Yankees 7  Bot 8, 0 OutsSep 21 11:30 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY ROBINSON CANO SCORED BRETT GARDNER.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, X NADY ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 3
    NY YANKEES 7 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: H MATSUI (.294, 1-FOR-3)

    Orioles 3, Yankees 7  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 21 11:19 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON GIAMBI SCORED BOBBY ABREU.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J GIAMBI ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 3
    NY YANKEES 6 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: X NADY (.269, 0-FOR-3)

    Orioles 3, Yankees 6  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 21 11:12 PM
  • Yankee82 Gooo Yankees

    Orioles 3, Yankees 5  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 21 11:07 PM
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    Orioles 3, Yankees 5  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 21 11:02 PM
  • mark non-yankees fans probably don't care, but i'm loving everything reggie is saying about brosius, o'neill, etc...

    Orioles 3, Yankees 5  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 21 10:43 PM
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    Orioles 3, Yankees 5  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 21 10:08 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JOSE MOLINA (3) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 4TH OFF CHRIS WATERS SCORED ROBINSON CANO.
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 3, NY YANKEES 5
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: J DAMON (.308, 1-FOR-2, HR, 3 RBI)

    Orioles 3, Yankees 5  Bot 4, 0 OutsSep 21 9:54 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BRIAN ROBERTS SCORED KEVIN MILLAR.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B ROBERTS ON FIRST, J PAYTON ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 3
    NY YANKEES 3 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: N MARKAKIS (.301, 1-FOR-2)

    Orioles 3, Yankees 3  Top 4, 0 OutsSep 21 9:46 PM
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    Orioles 2, Yankees 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 21 9:32 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY JOHNNY DAMON (16) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT
    IN THE 3RD OFF CHRIS WATERS SCORED HIDEKI MATSUI AND JOSE MOLINA.
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 2, NY YANKEES 3
    DUE UP FOR NY YANKEES: D JETER (.303, 0-FOR-1)

    Orioles 2, Yankees 3  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 21 9:26 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MELVIN MORA SCORED BRIAN ROBERTS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M MORA ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 2
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: A HUFF (.310, 0-FOR-1)

    Orioles 2, Yankees 0  Top 3, 0 OutsSep 21 9:15 PM


  • AL
    AT NY YANKEES - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY JAY PAYTON SCORED ADAM JONES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J PAYTON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BALTIMORE 1
    NY YANKEES 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR BALTIMORE: J CASTRO (.206, 2 HR, 14 RBI)

    Orioles 1, Yankees 0  Top 2, 0 OutsSep 21 8:55 PM
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    Orioles 0, Yankees 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 21 8:43 PM
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    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 21 6:52 PM
  • craftmafia God, I wish I were there.

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 21 6:31 PM
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    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 21 11:01 AM
  • SuketoKetchi The only time I will ever root for the Yankees.

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    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 20 9:40 AM
  • DJRob OK, OK, I'll root for the Yanks to win 1, since it's the last game ever at Yankee Stadium. I hope Jeter hits a Grandslam to win the game in the bottom of the 22nd inning. (you heard it here 1st) LMAO

    Orioles vs. YankeesSep 19 2:04 PM
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