"That's one of those unfair losseshe pitches to one guy in the eighth and he ends up scoring," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "But you knew it had to end, sooner or later."
Jose Contreras allowed a lead-off single to Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the eighth inning last night. It would be his last batter of the game, which was still tied 3-3 at the time. Minutes later, the TV cameras showed Contreras leaning over the rail of the visitor's dugougt, chatting with his teammates. He was loose and confident, smiling easily. This was not the Jose Contreras that we saw in New York, this was a World Champ who had not lost a decision since the middle of last August.
The Bombers would score three runs in the inning but the Sox didn't blink. Chicago collected three straight singles in the ninth off of Mariano Rivera. One scored on a ground out, then another on a fly out (a terrific catch against the right field wall in foul territory by Bubba Crosy). AJ Pierzynski pinch-hit with the tying run on third and put together a whale of an at-bat against Mariano Rivera, taking some good hacks and fouling off some decent pitches before popping up to right to end the game (he got under that last pitch, perhaps the most hittable one he saw). The Yanks pulled it out, but you could tell that the White Sox expected to win the game, just as they expect to win every game. They are not overly cocky--though you can say what you want about their showboat of a manager--they simply act like defending World Champs.
Contreras wasn't vintage but he was good enough. Miguel Cairo led off the fifth inning with a triple. The game was tied at two. But Contreras came back and struck out Johnny Damon and Derek Jeter--nasty forkballs and well-placed fastballs. Jason Giambi was walked intentionally and Rodriguez was plunked in the elbow to load the bases. But Jorge Posada was eaten up by a forkball and he hit what looked like a scewball to short for the final out.
You can see why the Yankees want to make a move to get another hitter, but give Contreras credit--he's tough. Damon would have a key hit in the eighth, ditto for Melky. And Aaron Guiel hooked a flat forkball into right for a homer too.