Prior to the 2003 season, the Yankees were involved in a big bidding war with the Boston Red Sox for the services of Cuban defector Jose Contreras. The Yankees ultimately won that battle, but in the long run Contreras was a bad signing. The Yankees got a little revenge yesterday, pounding the now Chicago White Sox pitcher en route to a 10-0 Yankees victory.
The game also marked the finest performance this season by Sergio Mitre since his recall by the big club back on July 21. He retired the first 13 White Sox to start the game and allowed just one hit over 6 1/3 innings, before being forced to depart when a line drive off the bat of A.J. Pierzynski struck his right forearm. For now, Mitre will be considered day-to-day after the imprint of the baseball was clearly visible on his arm.
The Yankees offense gave Mitre plenty of support early and often. Consecutive base hits by Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, and Jerry Hairston Jr. (2 RBI), starting in place of Melky Cabrera, put the Bombers up 2-0 in the 2nd inning. A walk to Jose Molina and a sac bunt by Derek Jeter set things up for Johnny Damon, who delivered both runners with a double for a 4-0 Yankees advantage.
The Yankees continued the onslaught in the 4th with another four-run outburst. Jeter singled to start the frame and Damon reached on an error by Jayson Nix that allowed both runners to move into scoring position. An Alex Rodriguez single and a Hideki Matsui double extended the lead to 6-0 and sent Contreras to the showers. Swisher greeted D.J. Carrasco with an RBI single and Cano brought the final run home with a productive ground out.
Mitre cruised through the first four innings, his slider working as effectively as it ever had, and recording five ground ball outs plus a pair of strikeouts. Rodriguez temporarily kept the perfect game going when he dove to his right to snare Paul Konerko's grounder and threw out the White Sox 1st baseman to start the 5th inning. But DH Jim Thome ripped a line drive past Mark Teixeira to break up the no-no and perfect game in one swing of the bat.
Mitre walked Brent Lillibridge to open the 7th before Pierzynski's ball ricocheted off Mitre's arm and went behind the mound. Before feeling the pain, the Yankees starter tracked the ball down and threw out the White Sox catcher at 1st base for the inning's first out. Trainer Gene Monahan and manager Joe Girardi quickly came to the mound and immediately got Mitre out of there once they saw the swelling that had begun. The White Sox wouldn't benefit from Mitre's removal though, as Chad Gaudin came on and allowed just one walk in 2 2/3 innings while striking out four.
Alex Rodriguez belted his 23rd home run of the season in the 8th inning for the game's final tally. It was home run #576 for his career, putting him 7 behind Mark McGwire for 8th place on the all-time list.
Derek Jeter had his 7th 3-hit game of the month and his 14th multi-hit game. He's now 13 hits shy of tying Lou Gehrig's franchise record.
Joba Chamberlain goes in the series finale this afternoon (1 P.M. ET) as the Yankees go for the series sweep. Girardi would not reveal if Chamberlain was on a pitch count as has been rumored. Freddy Garcia makes his third start of the season for the White Sox.
*This post was written by Drew Sarver of My Pinstripes*