The Yankees did almost everything they could to lose last night in Baltimore, but Aaron Boone got his first big hit for New York, and the Bombers toppled the O's, 6-4. Roger Clemens started and although he never seemed totally comfortable, the Rocket bulldozed his way through seven innings and left the game with a 2-1 lead, which the bullpen promptly spoiled.
Jesse Orosco and Jeff Nelson were ineffective and the Orioles went into the ninth leading 3-2. With men on first and second and one out, Aaron Boone came to the plate. The O's had intentionally walked Nick Johnson twice earlier in the game to face Boone, who could not take advantage of the opportunities. He wasn't alone as the Yankees stranded two bases runners in each of the first five innings. They left another man on in the sixth, and they left the bases loaded in the eighth.
Boone hit a line drive to right field which was foul by inches. Quickly he had two strikes against him again. But he recovered and hit what looked like a three-run homer to left. But it was called foul. Boone, making his way around first, couldn't believe it and sprinted across the infield to argue the call. The umps got together and reversed the ruling. The ball was fair and the Yanks once again had the lead. It was Boone's first homer for the Yanks. Lil Sori added a solo shot for good measure.
After the game, Boone told the Post:
"I thought, What else could be happening here?" Boone said after the game. "There was a lot of disbelief. I thought - and I was positive - it was fair. I'm glad, to their credit, they got it right."
Mariano came on in the ninth and immediately served up a bomb to Jack Cust. The Orioles got two more hits before Rivera got out of the inning on a couple of comebackers. So the bullpen and the lack of clutch-hitting plagued the Yanks once again; however, they were able to come away with a win, which should keep the kvetching at bay (for today at least). Bernie Williams also hit a home run, and looks as if he's starting to get into a groove. Jorge Posada is the hottest hitter on the team right now.
Meanwhile, the Mariners were busy beating up on the Red Sox---Ichiro hit a grand slam---and the Yanks now have a four-game lead (five in the loss column). They are going to need the cushion because Sterling Hitchcock is pitching tonight. That could be an adventure. But if the bats show up, he might be all right.
Jeremy Giambi is going to have season-ending surgery on his shoulder this week. It is one of the few moves that haven't worked out for Theo Epstein this year.