RETURN OF THE SANDMAN
Jamie Moyer was hit was some dumb luck in the first inning, when his fielders couldn’t quite hold onto a couple of shots off Yankee bats (including a grand slam to Raul Mondesi), but he settled down and was his usual vexing self through seven innings. But the Yankees had a 5-0 lead, and received a strong outing from Andy Pettitte, and outlasted the M’s for a 8-5 win. Juan Acevado and Chris Hammond got roughed up in the eight, and the Mariners drew closer, 5-4. (There was a lot of cursing in my crib at this point.) But the Bombers were able to add three insurance runs in bottom of the inning, which gave Mariano Rivera ample wiggle room in his first appearance of the season.
Understandably, Mo looked a bit tentative. You could even see it in his face. The icy calm wasn’t there. He didn’t look nervous, simply atrophied. Randy Winn battled him to start the inning, and it took 10 pitches for Rivera to retire him. Mo tapped his front foot before each pitch as if he was trying to gain his footing, or calm himself down, or both. He struck out Winn on a tailing fastball that I thought was a two-seamer, but has been called a sinker as too. That pitch was something new from Rivera. Brett Boone followed with a walk, and after falling behind 3-0 to Edgar Martinez, Mel Stottlemyre came out to talk with his closer. Mo then retired Edgar—who absolutely owns him—on three straight fastballs. Mike Cameron followed with a RBI double off the center field wall, before John Mabry popped out to Godzilla Matsui to end the game.
Nick Johnson walked again (which makes it fourteen games in a row), but he’s hitting as well. The same cannot be said for J. Giambi, who heard the boo’s from the ever-understanding and patient Yankee faithful.