I've never been to Safeco Park, as I mentioned yesterday, but it is an easy ball park to romanticize. More than anything, it's the sound of the train that gets me. From my apartment in the Bronx I can both see and hear the subway in the disance. It is not an imposing sound, it is faint, but it is always there and I find it comforting.
In the first inning last night, Bobby Abreu hit a line drive over the fence in center field. The sun had left the field but there were two patches on the outfield wall, just to the right of center. Jeremy Reed, the Mariner's center fielder chased the ball to the wall before turning back to the field. But you could see his shadow against the wall, and for a moment the image was hypnotizing. It was a brief moment. Just as I noticed it, Reed's shadow--of him turning back towards the field--was gone.
The game moved along at a brisk pace for the first five innings. Ryan-Rowland Smith worked especially fast, and Sidney Ponson threw strikes and had some help from his fielders. The Yanks were up 2-0 in the sixth--Jason Giambi added solo homer of his own--and Ponson got the first two men out. But then he gave up back-to-back singles followed by a line drive home run (Raul Ibanez) and the Yanks were playing the same-old-song again.
Fortunately, the Mariners are even worse than the Yankees. Smith was relieved in the seventh (he allowed a lead-off single to Ivan Rodriguez), and three Seattle relievers later, the Yanks had a 7-3 lead. Abreu had the big hit, a two-run triple, and Giambi added an RBI double.
Joba Chamberlain gave up a run in the eighth and Mariano Rivera was brought into the game to get the final out of the inning, which he did. Our man Mo--nice to see him in a game again--sent the M's down in order in the ninth, lowering his season ERA to 1.43 and giving the Yanks a 7-4 win.
A nice win. Yes, it doesn't mean much at this pernt, but as Nuke LaLoosh once said about winning, "you know, it's better than losing."
Most of the Banter Crew have their hopes pinned on Mike Mussina picking up win number 18 today. Let's hope he's in good form and that the bats are blazin.