Yankee fans stewed two nights ago when Mariano Rivera threw away a lead against Texas while Pedro Martinez was busting out a complete game beauty vs. the World Champs; tonight, the shoe is on the other foot. The Sox lostboth games of a double-header at home against the Orioles, while the Yankees outlasted the Mariners, 9-7. The Yanks now lead Boston by four games.
Neither Jeff Weaver or Ryan Franklin were particularly effective. Hideki Matsui hit a home run early, but The Mariners rallied down 3-1 in the fifth and went ahead 5-3. (Edgar singled home two runs with the bases full to put the M's ahead.) The bases were still loaded when Dave Dellucci made a terrific diving catch that saved at least two more runs. It's not often a Yankee makes a play that could be nominated for a "web gem," but this was certainly one of them.
One inning later, Nick Johnson hit a grand slam which put the Yankees ahead for good. It was the first grande salami of Nicky's career. Mazel, papi.
Just to make things exciting, Jeff Nelson came on to face the top of the order in the eighth, with the Yanks leading 8-7. He struck out all three batters he faced and pumped and jumped off the mound. It was a nasty outing. Armando Benitez pitched the bottom of the inning, and gave up a single and a stolen base to Alfonso Soriano (who looked much better tonight). Nick Johnson then rolled a seeing-eye single between short and third to give the Yanks an insurance run.
Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth; a sight for sore eyes, indeed. (He struck out Edgar, who is now 9-15 lifetime against Rivera.)
I didn't think the Sox would drop two at home. Every time I see them trailing by three, four, or five runs early, I assume they are going to come back and win. And if they lose, it will be 11-10 in extra innings. Looks like this Red Sox team is intent on keeping things dramatic. Tonight, it's Red Sox Nation turn to pass the pepto.