Jaret Wright had virtually nothing on Sunday night and left before the end of the second inning, having already allowed four runs to score. Not wanting to be out-sucked, Alay Soler was torched for eight runs in the third inning as the Bombers got their Bomb back and unloaded on the Mets, 16-7. Ron Villone was effective in an emergency relief call and earned the win. And whatta ya hear, whatta ya say, Alex Rodriguez was the big man hitting a grand slam and a three-run dinger, but for the Mets fan sitting next to me in the upper deck last night, the game will go down as "the Nick Green" game. Green, making his first start at second base for the Yankees led off the third inning with a walk. He would come up again later in the inning and my pal leaned over and asked, "When is the last time a .077 hitter walked twice in one inning?" We'll never know the answer because Green plasted a two-run homer to left center. My friend, though undoubtedly discouraged, couldn't help but laugh. The next time Green came to the plate his average was up to .100.
It was just one of those nights. Mets catcher Paul LoDuca took exception to the way Alex Rodriguez reacted after hitting his grand slam and jawed at him some after Rodriguez crossed the plate. Lighten up, Francis. I think LoDuca was just sticking up for his pitcher, and that is fine. He was upset but I don't think Rodriguez was trying to show the Mets up and his celebration was nothing that you don't see all the time these days. LoDuca has got a good dose of the red ass in him anyhow, which is what you like to see in your catcher. But whatever hard feelings he had, they weren't too serious as the Mets didn't even brush Rodriguez off the plate in the next two at bats--a single and another homer. (LoDuca is one of six Mets to make the All-Star team, while four Yankees--Rodriguez, Jeter, Cano and Mariano made it.) For Rodriguez is was a huge game and he was showered with cheers, standing o's, the whole sh-bang.
The game was delayed about an hour due to some light rain and the first four innings moved slowly despite the excitement. The place was definitely juiced but this was going to be a typical American League sluggfest. It felt like it was going to be a long night's journey into day and sure enough I didn't arrive back at my crib until just after 2:00. Still, after the Bombers scored their 16th run in the fifth inning, there was not much tension left. The crowd gradually thinned-out and the last part of the game moved briskly. For Yankee fans it was the kind of anti-climax to thoroughly enjoy.