Derek Jeter led off the game last night against Texas with a home run, and then hit another one in the second. They were typical Jeter shots to right field. He came up again in the fifth and hit a long fly ball to straight away center. "No way," I said aloud. The ball went to the warning track and was caught for a long out, despite being hit farther than the two homers.
Jeter received a round of applause as he jogged back to the dugout, but the damage had already been done. It was not Colby Lewis' night. Hideki Matsui followed Jeter with a home run of his own in the first, and Jason Giambi was 2-2 when he came to bat later in the fifth. I said to myself, "He's hitting one here." Sure enough, Giambi plastered a fastball into the third deck in right field, and the Yankees never looked back, beating Texas 6-2.
My cousin Gabe once said that Giambi at bat looks like a Celtic warrior fighting off his enemies with one hand. Like something out of Conan. That's what his home run looked like last night. He strong-armed the ball with one arm into the upper deck.
Roger Clemens pitched well on his 41rst birthday, but he found himself in a bases-loaded, no out jam in the fourth. According to the Times:
"The pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre went to the mound as Clemens and catcher Jorge Posada debated pitch selection. After the meeting, Clemens got a popout and a strikeout, and faced Nivar.
Nivar, 23, who was called to the majors last week, was looking for his third career hit. He made Clemens work, fouling off three pitches with an 0-2 count and driving him to distraction.
'I wish I could have thrown an eephus pitch for the first time," Clemens said. 'I was letting it go, and that kid was swinging away. I was like, "Man, this would be the night to do it if I was ever going to do it." But I think probably Joe would have taken me out of the game. Or he might have fainted.'
Clemens spared Torre the sight of a blooper pitch. But he did go for something unconventional, dropping to a sidearm angle for a tailing fastball. A surprised Nivar bounced it back to the mound, where Clemens snagged it and threw to first to end the inning, pumping his fist at his side."
It's too bad Clemens didn't turn into Dave LaRoche for just one pitch. Now, that would have been funny.
Antonio Osuna knocked Alex Rodriguez down in the eighth inning, much to the delight of the crowd. A-Rod glared in the Yankee dugoug and then popped out to left. Rodriguez has been getting killed in the press lately, but William Rhoden has a sympathetic column on the Texas superstar in the Times today:
"I am baffled by a persistent ambivalence in sports journalism when it comes to athletes and money. We acknowledge that sports is big business, but in our hearts, we seem to resent the business aspect of games that turn young athletes into multimillionaires. For the last three years, Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers has been Exhibit A of our ambivalence.
...For the last three seasons the industry has derived some satisfaction watching A-Rod suffer losing season after losing season."
Meanwhile, up in Beantown, Jeff Suppan had a miserable first outing for the Sox, but the bats led another comeback, and Boston defeated the World Champs, 10-9. Never a dull moment for Sox Nation, right? The Yankee lead is still 3.5 games.