In the top of the first, Jeter doubled to right and then Giambi walked. Giambi missed a fat pitch on the 3-1 count; he’s been slumping lately and it showed there. Bernie grounded out and moved the runners over. Then Matsui came up and worked the count to 3-2. The 2-2 was close and Lowe wanted it badly. So did the crowd. Godziller banged a double off the Green Monster, and the Yanks led, 2-0.
As Posada came to the plate you could hear militia chants of “Yankees Suck, Yankees Suck” echo through the crowd. Posada grounded out to second to end the inning.
Bottom of the first
Contreras strikes Johnny Damon out on a forkball, fishing. The pitch almost knuckles. It kind of floats up there. The big Cuban falls behind Todd Walker, 1-0 and then 2-1, then 3-1 and then he walks him. Nomar smacks the first pitch he sees into right field like he’s Fast Eddie Felson; Walker holds at second. Contreras falls behind David Ortiz and then gets a swing and a miss on a forkball, but the pitch gets passed Posada and the runners advance. Contreras misses with a fastball, 2-1. Another pitch in the dirt, Posada is lucky to have snagged it, 3-1. Ortiz singles to left, Todd Walker scores. Nice piece of hitting by Ortiz.
Yanks lead, 2-1. First and third with one out for Kevin Millar. It’s hot and muggy and currently raining in New York. Looks hot up in Boston, but Contreras should be used to the heat. Posada’s going to get his money’s worth tonight, this forkball is wild in the dirt. Contreras ends up striking Millar out on a barely-visible foul tip that Posada held on to. Groans from the crowd.
Contreras falls behind Trot Nixon, 2-0 and then 3-1 and the he walks him to load to the bases. Mel Stottlemyre comes out to talk with Contreras. The entire infield meets him on the mound. There is a lot of head-nodding going on. Everyone seems to agree on something.
Contreras starts Bill Mueller out with a strike on the outside corner. Then a breaking ball low and outside for a ball, 1-1. The next pitch is a fastball inside, waist high. Mueller backs off and it is called a ball, 2-1. Mueller then fattens his average by smacking a single up the middle. Two runs score, and the Sox lead, 3-2.
First pitch to Varitek is high. The catcher swings right through it for a strike, but the pitch gets away. The runners move up to second and third. Forkball in the dirt, blocked by Posada. This inning is taking forever. It’s the first inning and already we’ve got a Tennesse Williams play over here. Fastball for a strike on the outside corner. Contreras continues to fidget. Posada goes out to the mound. The fans boo. Contreras throws a nasty splitter on the outside corner and Varitek waves at it. The big guy strikes out the side and the first inning is over after 33 minutes.
It’s going to be a long night.
(Though Lowe sets the Yankees down quickly in the second, and Contreras responds with a 1-2-3 inning of his own. Maybe they’ll just settle down…)