Yanks' win off record by two minutes
Approaching five hours, series opener just shy of all-time mark
BOSTON -- It's funny how winning and losing can drastically affect how players and coaches view a nine-inning game that fell a mere two minutes shy of establishing a new Major League record.
"I'd wait all night to win one of these," Yankees manager Joe Torre explained after his team needed just four hours and 43 minutes to dispose of the Red Sox, 8-7, in yet another unforgettable contest between the two archrivals on Friday night at Fenway Park.
The game missed the all-time nine-inning record, not surprisingly set by these same two teams last August, by two minutes.
It was also the Yankees who came away victorious, 14-11, on Aug. 18, 2006, in the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader -- a game that lasted four hours and 45 minutes. That was part of the five-game sweep at Fenway that helped the Yankees earn their ninth straight American League East crown.
There were a number of different explanations for the length of Friday's game from various participants on both sides.
"I have no idea, but records are made to be broken, and I'm sure the Yankees and Red Sox will break that record one day," offered Yankees designated hitter and former Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon, who made the most of the long night with a season-high four hits.
Odds are, Friday night won't be the last four-hour marathon between the two teams this weekend, since every game is on national television. Friday night was an ESPN telecast. Was it an ESPN Classic? That certainly is up for debate.
"I think it is a byproduct of these two teams, television and we were only five minutes away from using Joba [Chamberlain] anyways," Torre said, tongue in cheek. "I think it is these two teams. Everything takes so much time because you go back and forth and [have] meetings [at the mound]."
But if you lose a game like Friday, especially after spending most of the night with the lead, the game feels more like a prank gone bad.
"Absolute joke, the time of games we play with these guys," Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell said. "I know it's hyped up. I think it's a product of, we both have a lot of guys that work the count. But then the pitching changes take forever. It's unbelievable.
"I'd much rather play a 2 1/2-hour game if we're going to lose by one run," Lowell added.
Coco Crisp, who was caught stealing to end the eighth inning, feels that his teammates will handle the loss well.
"We'll bounce back," Crisp said. "Most of the guys in here are veterans. We've got some young guys now that have shown their capabilities of dealing with this stuff. They're capable of dealing with it -- the grind of playing these games.
"I think most of the guys know how to relax after a game like this -- go home, spend time with the families, forget about the game; come out [Saturday] fresh and try to win a ballgame."
It must be something about the Yankees and Friday nights. New York lost a marathon in Detroit on Aug. 24, with the game ending at 2:30 a.m. ET on Aug. 25.
Alex Rodriguez, who drove in the winning run in Friday's six-run eighth inning, was prepared for a long night. After all, it was Rodriguez who homered off Jonathan Papelbon on June 3, the decisive blow in a game that took four hours and four minutes to complete.
"Well, with national TV, we knew we wouldn't leave here before 1 o'clock in the morning," Rodriguez said outside his clubhouse around 12:30 a.m. ET on Saturday. "It seems like they're always grueling, long games, but they're exciting and a lot of fun."
And one more thing.
"It makes it a lot shorter when you win," he added.
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.