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June 18, 2005

A Good Wind's A-Blowin'
by Sean McNally

When this homestand opened, I compared it to the Alamo. I really didn't think that the Yankees would be playing the part of Santa Ana's Mexicans.

Last night's 9-6 win was the second comeback win in three days for the Bombers, though it didn’t start out that way

After swapping scoreless first innings, New York touched Carlos Zambrano for a run in the second, then three in the third, highlighted (to Yankee fans at least) by a run scoring error by former bane of our existence Enrique Wilson.

Carl Pavano, however, did his best to make sure that the four-run lead he was staked to didn't stand up - giving two back on three consecutive singles and a horrible throw to second by Jason Giambi that cost the Yanks a double play.

The Cubbies got a run in the fifth, closing the gap to 4-3 and then overtook the Yanks in the sixth, scoring three runs to take a 6-4 win and chasing Carl Pavano in favor of Paul Quantrill.

Quantrill stopped the bleeding in the sixth, and got the seventh off to a good start, retiring the first two he faced in the frame before yielding a double to Jeromy Burnitz and a walk to Aramis Ramierz and giving way to Mike Stanton, who retired Todd Walker to end the inning.

Zambrano came out for the seventh, with a pitch count nearing, then eventually surpassing 115. Carlos retired Robinson Cano on one of his four flyouts to left, then the wheels came off.

A screaming liner to the leftfield wall put Gary Sheffield on second with a double, then with the Cubs announcers on WGN discussing ARod’s unclutchness ("only seven of his RBIs have come in the seventh inning or later") the True Yankee blasted a Carlos Zambrano 1-2 pitch into center for an RBI-single, making Bob Brenly look pretty silly.

That chased Carlos from the game and lefty Will Ohman came on to face Matsui. After looking at two balls, Godzilla turned on a fastball and hit a freakin’ rocket over the rightfield wall to put the Yanks in front 7-6.

Godzilla came up in the eighth and the bases drunk with Yankees and put double into the rightfield corner scoring two more and giving the Yanks a little breathing room before the Sandman came in to slam the door.

Few game notes:

Derrek Lee is really good. He almost balances out the Cubs bad roster construction and Dusty Baker's lousy managing all by himself.

Carlos Zambrano is fun to watch. He throws hard, he's animated and just intriguing.

It was great to see Enrique Wilson screw another team, huh?

Someone in the clubhouse should volunteer to smack Godzilla in the ankle before every game so he can keep this up. Since savaging his ankle in St. Louis, the beast is back, hitting: .533/.588/1.267 with three homers, two doubles, nine RBIs and five runs scored.

Speaking of comebacks, Jason Giambi is looking Giambi-like lately. On the homestand so far, Jason's hitting .333/.467/.750 with a pair of doubles, a dramatic homer, 5 RBIs, 4 runs scored and perhaps most encouraging, just three strikeouts.

With some modifications, for the first time in a while we saw the return of QuanGorMo. Quantrill was as effective as he's been this season, Stanton earned his money and retired some lefties in between and Tom Gordon revived his curveball in setting up for Rivera. A rejuvenated bullpen would give the Yanks a nice boost going into the dog days of summer.

Today, New York sends Tiger Wang to the hill against Glendon Rusch and look to put themselves in position to at work win their second straight series and at best sweep on Sunday.