In the most improbable of endings, pinch-runner turned defensive replacement Brent Lillibridge (shown above being congratulated by Juan Pierre) stunned the 41,000 onlookers at Yankee Stadium tonight with two of the finest catches you’ll ever see, resulting in a thrilling 3-2 Pale Hose victory. Adding to the drama was that he robbed the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Robby Cano back-to-back with the tying and winning runs on base to end the game.
The amazing turn of events prompted Ozzie to come up with the quote of the night. “I think I finally found my closer–Lillibridge.”
Lilli’s heroics from his spot in right field and the subsequent Sox triumph were preceded by a stellar outing by Gavin Floyd and a clutch two-run homer by Paul Konerko. Floyd, who gave up only solo homers to Cano and Brett Gardner and two singles to Derek Jeter, struck out 10 in eight plus innings. Paulie’s blast gave the Sox the lead in the eighth–a margin they never relinquished, thanks to Lillibridge’s defensive wizardry.
Any two wins after beginning the road trip 1-6 would be welcome. But the fact we’ve won two close games against the Yankees in New York is special. How special? check out this fact:
It was the first time the White Sox overcame a deficit in the eighth inning or later to beat the Yankees in New York since 1996.
There was also a bonus moment for Sox fans when the cameras focused on Jeter’s expression of frustration and bewilderment after Lillibridge’s game-ending gem. He owes us a few of those.
Full disclosure: Readers of this blog know full well I’m not Lillibridge’s biggest fan–in fact, Sox Posse member Tim Clodjeaux reminded me of that tonight. I’ve said more than once that a player with his specific skills needs to be smart and do the little things. Too often Lilli has made mental mistakes and physical errors that have cost the Sox. But the two catches he made this evening were nothing less than magnificent and he deserves every accolade that will be bestowed upon him in the days ahead.