My family and I took a trip out to Yankee Stadium back on July 31st in the hopes of seeing Alex Rodriguez become the youngest player to hit 500 home runs. We braved a couple of very packed #4 trains, and got into the stadium just as the lineup cards were being handed in.
It was an eventful first inning. After getting ejected from the game for arguing over whether or not Derek Jeter checked his swing, Ozzie Guillen lost his cool (and the contents of his pockets). He argued his point for several minutes, but the umpire remained firm. Jeter ended up with a hit, and then Chicago starter Jose Contreras started throwing batting practice:
First, Bobby Abreu hit a 3-run home run. Then Alex hit one to the warning track for the first out. Hideki Matsui followed up with a solo home run (his first homerun of the night; he’d go on to hit a two-run shot in the 6th):
Yankees starter Mike Mussina gave back three of the runs in the next inning, but after that, he settled down and held the White Sox scoreless while the Yankee offense went to town, knocking Contreras and a number of White Sox relievers out of the game.
Naturally, Melky had to get in on the fun too that inning, bringing home Andy Phillips, who reached first on an error.
Then the catcher, Jorge Posada hit one into the stands in the fourth inning. He’s been so consistently good this year that I do hope Cashman gives him whatever he wants in the offseason.
Jorge’s homer was by no means the last of the game, either. Matsui hit his second of the night in the 6th inning. Johnny Damon led off the 7th inning with a solo home run. Later in the inning, Shelly Duncan, the new kid on the team, who came in to pinch hit and play RF for Bobby Abreu. It was his 4th home run in only 21 at-bats.
He has a reputation for being very exuberant in his celebrations–we were impressed that Larry Bowa remained standing after he ran by.
In the end, every Yankee who had an at bat, save for Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Andy Phillips hit a home run that night (and everyone save for Alex got on base, although Andy didn’t get a hit). Mike Mussina turned in a quality start, Kyle Farnsworth actually worked a 1-2-3 inning, and the Yankees took the game 16-3. So even though Alex wouldn’t hit #500 until Sunday afternoon, there was plenty to celebrate.