soft hands.

"I don't know how much of this my heart can take. "

- crazy. how often do you get to see the formidable hands of two, no, three, because i will count tom gordon, of the best closers in baseball become shaky and vulnerable all in one game? and who would have thought jon lieber, perhaps the rotations biggest question mark at the beginning of the season, capable of buckling down and keeping his first postseason appearance in check? and tanyon sturtze? do i need to say anything other than tanyon sturtze? how satisfying was it to see derek jeter park one in the black for run number one, and then plant his foot on the plate and leap for joy at having scored the winning run? how gratifying was it to see the heretofore fumblingly unsure alex rodriguez rediscover his swagger under the oft unforgiving october lights? and his game tying ground rule double bouncing back into the park only to be sent out again, this time at the frustrated hands of erstwhile minny adonis hero torii hunter... the slumping gary sheffield tying the game early, hitting foul bombs, itching to hit something, anything; hideki matsui giving tommy heinrich a run for the nickname ol' reliable, by quietly doing what he's done all year. mo faltering, and the people around him picking him up, as he's done for them so often. 2001 made me hesitant to believe in any kind of magic or fate, but games like this... games like this make me believe in hope, and believe in this team.

- funny how we wear our own bias colored glasses: batgirl saw the espn guys as insufferable because hears them as pro-yankeefied jeter lovahs, while i wanted to punch joe morgan in the throat for the nonstop swooning over the little-ball minny lovefest. 'course, for me, any reason to punch joe morgan in the throat is a good one. if it makes me pine for michael kay, you know it's baaaaaad. whither dr hibbert ken singleton?

- which brings me to this: the only thing i hate about postseason baseball is being subjected to the national announcers. mccarver and joe morgan? my god. i'm kind to the elderly, i love my momma, i don't do the drugs. what did i do to deserve this?

- anyway. another fantabulous female baseball blogger is ms karen, who was lucky enough to be in the hizzouse last night and wrote up her lovely and amazing experience. left me breathless and a little jealous. okay, a lot jealous.

and maybe best of all: mike lupica having to write about it. lick it up, runt.

"They were dead, the place was dead," ESPN's Joe Morgan said. "And then it was alive."

Jeter was next. He had begun the game with the longest home run he has ever hit at the Stadium, one way up into the black in the bottom of the first, after the Twins had gone ahead 1-0. Then they went ahead 3-1. Gary Sheffield tied it with a two-run homer. Then A-Rod went deep. Got that RBI single later. At this point he had five hits in the first two games against the Twins. Should have had one more, thought he had one more in Game1 until Torii Hunter grabbed one off him at the top of the wall in right-center. It should have been his night right there.

Then Tom Gordon and Mo Rivera couldn't hold a 5-3 lead in the eighth and Hunter went deep in the 12th.

Nathan walked Jeter on four pitches.

First and second, one out.

A-Rod at the plate.

This was what he had come to New York for, games like this, a chance to show what he can do when it is all on the line. When he was asked to deliver the way Jeter always had. Rodriguez had lost to the Yankees in the playoffs when he was with the Mariners. Then he had watched Jeter and the rest of them from last place. Now here was one more chance to join the party.

Win a game like this.

Nathan threw him a ball and then a strike and then A-Rod hit one toward the "399 ft." sign, white on blue, in deep left-center. On the way to the monuments. On the way to the other great Yankees. Rodriguez came out of the batter's box as though he thought he had hit another home run, done a Reggie turn to end this one. But the ball stayed in the air a long time. Not as long as that big high moon shot he had hit over the left-field wall to make it 4-3 in the fifth. But long enough that you thought Shannon Stewart could catch it, just because you are conditioned by now to watch.

Stewart didn't catch this one. The ball jumped over the wall or Jeter would have scored easily behind Cairo with the winning run. He had to go back to third. A-Rod stayed at second. It was 6-all. Nathan walked Sheffield intentionally. You could see A-Rod standing there on second base, looking around, the crowd crazy now, knowing the Yankees were about to even the series.

Knowing this was another one of those nights.

Ron Gardenhire brought in J.C. Romero to pitch to Hideki Matsui. Matsui, one of the money Yankees even if he doesn't make A-Rod money, or Jeter money, hit the first pitch he saw from Romero on a line to Jacque Jones in right. The ball got on him so fast and so hot, it seemed to knock him back. He threw to the cutoff man instead of throwing all the way home, as if obsessed with getting rid of the ball.

"I got the ball, I got rid of it," Jones kept saying afterward.

Jeter slid across home plate. Home run into the black to start, a slide in the dirt to end it. Yankees 7, Twins 6. A-Rod had a night. He kept downplaying it afterward. He had his Yankee night. Series even.
5:54 PM :: ::
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