Two months ago, it was Gooden who had a signature moment when he tossed a no-hitter against the Mariners. This afternoon, it was Strawberry’s time to shine. He hit a walk-off home run – the 300th long ball of his career – to end the Yankees homestand with a bang. Oh, and it was his buddy Gooden who started the game and pitched a gem for the second time in a row.
Heading into the ninth down 2-1, Tino Martinez drew a walk against Jason Jacome. With Gerald Williams pinch running and hoping to score on an extra-base hit, up came Strawberry. After working the count full, Strawberry jumped on a fastball – sending it high and deep towards the right field bleachers. Strawberry glided around the bases like we’ve seen so many times with the Mets. All 35,658 in attendance gave him a curtain call.
“When I came back out, I was thanking the fans for accepting me back with open arms,” Strawberry said. “After all I’ve been through, that was really special. They’ve been really patient.” (via NY Times)
Because of the city, the home run meant something extra to Strawberry, who left town for the West Coast a few years ago – something he’s regretted. “Today is even more special because this is New York. This is where I started my career. It’s where I’ve had all of my success. It’s a wonderful story. You guys should write it.” (Via NY Times)
Gooden kept the Yankees in the game, tossing eight innings and giving up two runs on seven hits. The Yankees only offense in support of Doc came when Martinez scored on Leyritz’s RBI groundout in the second.
Unfortunately, Gooden was in the clubhouse when Strawberry hit the homer. “I was in here screaming and yelling. I was jumping up and down for him. To do what he did in New York, that was great.” (Via NY Times). Gooden gave way to Wetteland, who pitched a spotless ninth, striking out two along the way.
Today was all about the former Mets with troubled pasts, rising to the occasion for one more day in the sun. This is what George Steinbrenner had in mind when he brought them to the Bronx. “Without George Steinbrenner, I wouldn’t be here,” Strawberry said. “There has been a lot of history between me and Doc. Maybe this can add to it.”
The Yankees now have an off day as they travel to Texas to take on the Rangers.
Joe Girardi was scratched from the lineup prior to today’s game with gastritis.