The rain held out on Friday night but Joe Girardi missed the fourth game of the season anyhow with the flu. On the YES broadcast, Michael Kay reported that Girardi was at the Stadium, suffering in his office. Then Ian Kennedy went out and pitched something like the way his manager must be feeling. It sure wasn’t pretty. Kennedy had no grasp of the strike zone, threw seventy pitches, and allowed six runs off four hits and four walks in two-and-one-thirds innings.
His counterpart, Andy Sonnanstine, retired six of the first seven batters he faced before running into trouble in the third–everything he threw was up–when the Yankees bashed six hits, kicked off by a cheap-o right field homer by Godzilla, and followed by three shots off the outfield wall (Molina, Jeter, Giambi). When Alex Rodriguez scored from first base on Giambi’s double, he had a wide, guileless grin on his face as he crossed the plate. It was a small, isolated moment, one that made Rodriguez look like a little boy. (It was easy to take pleasure in his enjoyment, something that is not always the case with Rodriguez.)
The Bombers scored four runs in the rally and then Sonnanstine went back to the junkyard, pitching six innings in all and retiring the last ten batters he faced. The Yanks got some handy work from the pen in the young law firm of Albaladejo, Ohlendorf and Traber, keeping the game close, at 6-4. Then LaTroy Hawkins was beat about the neck and face by Cliff Floyd and his pals. Pass the Robitussin, son. The crowd booed Hawkins and chanted “Paul O’Neill,” chiding the poor guy for having the nerve to wear O’Neill’s former number (Hawkins, who according to Pete Abraham, is an all-around swell guy in the locker room, is wearing 21 as a tribute to Roberto Clemente). When Hawkins was mercifully removed, Cooter Farnswacker replaced him and quickly served up a three-run moon shot to Carlos Pena.