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Walk-Off in The Bronx: Yankees Captivate A Stellar Opening Day Win In Extras

📸 Photo by Daniel Budasoff/ Latino Sports

BRONX — An infectious warmth filled the air, alleviating every moment surrounding the freshly cut grass that resided on 161st street and Rivera Ave in the southwest side of the Bronx. It’s Opening Day, and a rivalry that has spanned over a century-long — 102 years to be exact — was set. Little did we know that the script written for Opening Day 2022 would indeed include a flair for the theatrics that would engulf the baseball stage on the season’s first game.

 A toe-to-toe matchup between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox would ensue with a walk-off celebration thanks to the bat of newly acquired Yankee Josh Donaldson. The two-time All-Star snagged the game-winning RBI with a single that cut through the middle of the infield, trickling into center field and scoring automatic baserunner and trade partner Isiah Kiner-Falefa. 

📸 Photo Credit: Daniel Budasoff/ Latino Sports

As a sea of pinstripes swarmed the right side of the infield, a sigh of relief coincided with a blare of excitement from the stands as the Yankees captured a 6-5 win in an 11-inning matinee in the Bronx.

It was a valiant effort from both sides of the field, as the stars of each ballpark held down their own with rocketing home runs and steady pitching.

Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton lasered a solo homer in the fourth inning — a 116-mph rocket that calculated a launch angle of 15-degrees. First baseman Anthony Rizzo and second baseman DJ LeMahieu also went yard, sending the Yankee faithful into a frenzy, as their solo home runs helped stabilize the Yankees’ faith in their towering offense.

Many questions circulated around Aaron Boone’s decision to leave 25-year-old infielder Gleyber Torres out of the Opening Day lineup — something that hasn’t occurred since Torres’ sophomore year in the league in 2019. But, despite the noise, Torres would pinch-hit for catcher Kyle Higashioka in the bottom of the 10th-inning and relay a clutch sacrifice-fly that would tie the game for the Yankees at five.

📸 Photo Credit: Daniel Budasoff/ Latino Sports

“(It feels) amazing,” Torres said as he reflected on the afternoon. “During the game, most of the time, I’m just staying in a place to get ready for every opportunity, to be warming up, and just to be paying attention for any opportunities during the game. I thank God I was able to get the opportunity… and just want to do the job for my team. Thank God I was able to hit the ball in the air and help my team with a run to tie the game.”

The Yankees had eight pitchers take the mound in the season’s first game, including a slew of Latin talent that would minimize the damage to any fearsome threat coming from the Boston bats. A new face on the Yankees and a former New York Met, 27-year-old righty Miguel Castro, would help lock down a crucial bases-loaded threat, ultimately leaving the Red Sox’s last base runners stranded in the sixth inning until the automatic runner rule came into effect in the 10th-inning.

Castro, 2021 Latino MVP American League Relief/Closer Award winner Jonathan Loáisiga, Wandy Peralta, and Aroldis Chapman did not relinquish a single hit in 3 1/3 frames of relief, blanking a total of five batters.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora emphasized how the Red Sox needed to be tuned in from the start to stabilize a positive mindset after failing to deliver in the American League Championship Series in 2021. “We have our scars, we want to be better, and to be better we have to be locked in since day one,” Cora said before the start of his fourth Opening Day as Red Sox manager. With the first game loss, Cora has yet to win an Opening Day since becoming the manager of the Red Sox in 2018. 

📸 Photo Credit: Daniel Budasoff/ Latino Sports

Despite succumbing to a Game 1 of 162 loss, Red Sox All-Star Rafael Devers — who blasted the first home run of the season for the Red Sox in the first inning, traveling a distance of 382-feet into the second deck in right field — showed his masterful prowess at third base and the batter’s box.

As a collective group, the Red Sox saw seven of their starting nine starters penned in the Friday afternoon lineup reach base. Small ball from J.D. Martínez and Alex Verdugo helped elevate the Red Sox early but simmered down once the Yankees found their home run hitting stride.

As the Yankees celebrated their first win of the season, the noise that hovered over the club slowly dissipated slightly as the rings of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” beamed throughout the confinements of Yankee Stadium for the first time since October 3, 2021. The weight hovering over the Yankees’ shoulders became lighter as questions were confronted with reality.

📸 Photo Credit: Daniel Budasoff/ Latino Sports

Not only did the Yankees front office, General Manager Brian Cashman, and Aaron Judge conclude negotiations over a long-term extension, but the 29-year-old All-Star was able to prove his worth as a leader on the field and in the batter’s box. An arousing ovation from the fans helped fuel that genuine characterization and praise that has described Judge as a natural-born leader who upholds the true core values of the New York Yankees.

Opening Day weekend will continue on Saturday, April 8, at 4:05 p.m. EDT with the Yankees entrusting Luis Severino with a start. The 28-year-old Sabana de la Mar, Dominican Republic native, has spent the last three seasons recovering from injuries and Tommy John surgery in 2020. Severino missed the majority of the 2021 regular season — only recording one win over four relief appearances in September — but was present for the Yankees’ one-game playoff run in Boston for the Wild Card game.

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