It’s hard to believe that last night was the first time the Yankees and Orioles have played all year, but the Yanks started the second half of their season just like they ended the first half: with a win. Baltimore’s ace Sidney Ponson outpitched Andy Pettitte early, but Andy escaped jam after jam, and the Yankees chipped away at Ponson. Karim Garcia hit a two-run homer to keep the Yankees close, and when Ponson left the game, with runners on the corners and no out in the seventh, Ruben Ruben bitch-slapped a B.J. Ryan breaking ball for a three-run dinger, which gave the Yankees the lead for good.
The Bombers survived four errors, and the Orioles failed to take advantage of several opportunities, eventually leaving twelve men on base. Mariano Rivera, who is getting his work in plenty these days, got the save in spite of an error by Garcia in left field which cut the Yankee lead to 6-5. Eariler in the game, Garcia did make a sweet shoe-string catch, as well as a nice throw to nail Brook Fordyce at second (the O’s catcher was loafing out of the box). But Andy Pettitte made the most memorable play of the night, flipping a comebacker backhand to Posada for a force, after muffing his chance to turn a double play. Derek Jeter, eat your heart out.
The Yanks now lead the Red Sox by four games, and the Jays by six and a half. (Boston had the night off, and the Jays fell to the Tigers.)
The Yankees put disgruntled reserve outfielder Bubba Trammell on the restricted list (which means they don’t have to pay him) after Trammell left the team suddenly on Sunday.