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Live from New York: It's Game Three

NEW YORK -- Keep it here (and keep refreshing your browser) for updates and other nuggets from Game Three of the division series between the Indians and Yankees, which is being played on a 71-degree, breezy night in The House That Ruth Built. (And in answer to Rick's e-mail, you can click on the pictures to get a bigger version).

It's over: Yankees win, 8-4. Game Four Monday at 7:30. Joe Torre lives to manage another day.

Mid-7th: Irish tenor Ronan Tynan singing God Bless America (the long version) with help from 56,000 of his friends. I've seen it several times here -- and during the 2001 postseason, fans were openly weeping and holding up pictures of their deceased relatives from the World Trade Center during the song. Absolute goosebump material. (Here's a clip of him singing at last year's ALDS)

Top-7th: MLB has announced that Game Four, which looks like a good bet for Monday night, will be moved back from 6:07 to 7:37. If there's a Game Five on Wednesday in Cleveland, it's going back from 5:05 to 8:30. Joba Chamberlain is in for fellow rookie Phil Hughes, who pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings that may have saved the Yankees' season. No bugs in sight here.

Bot-6th: When this place gets rocking, it literally rocks. The press box is shaking from the noise as the Yankees take an 8-3 lead on Robinson Cano's RBI single that turned into a three-run hit when Trot Nixon pathetically booted the ball in right field and let it roll all the way to the wall. That's eight unanswered runs and seven in the last two innings. Slump? What slump?

Damon End-5th: After 2 1/2 games, the Yankees finally found their offense with four runs in the fifth -- or one fewer than they tallied in the first 24 innings of this series! Cano lined an RBI double to the left-field to cut the Cleveland lead to 3-2 and Johnny Damon drove the place bonkers with a towering three-run home run to right to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead and produce a curtain call (left). The Yankees have eight hits through five innings tonight off Jake Westbrook. They had eight hits combined in Games One and Two.

A little lost in all this is the job being done by Hughes in relief of Roger Clemens to keep the Indians' lead from growing no bigger than 3-0. It's reminiscent of what Mike Mussina did when Clemens fell into a 4-0 hole in Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS against Boston.

End-3rd: The Yankees pulled within 3-1 on Damon's RBI single, a run set up when Victor Martinez braincramped and threw Melky Cabrera's topper to third, thinking there was a force there (not the case). Damon followed with his hit to put runners at first and second but, with the crowd roaring, Derek Jeter killed the rally with his second double-play ball and the Yanks' third in three innings. Ouch.

Rocket Top-3rd: After 59 pitches over 2 1/3 innings, Clemens (right) is gone with a strained left hamstring. Many of his pitches were up and that's usually a sign he can't power through his delivery with his legs because of the balky hammy. Sure enough, during Travis Hafner's at-bat that ended with a walk, Clemens got a visit from Torre and trainer Gene Monahan. After striking out Victor Martinez, Torre & Co. revisited the mound and Clemens limped off. There were a few boos but most of the fans gave him a standing ovation as he was replaced by Phil Hughes. Jhonny Peralta delivered Hafner with a two-out double to right and it's 3-0.

End the misery, Roger. You're 45. Go home! What a joke. Normally I don't like to say I told you so, but I told you so today.

TrothrEnd-2nd: Eric Wedge's hunch about Nixon (mentioned near the bottom of this post) certainly paid off. With one out in the top of the second, Nixon lined a home run (left) off the top of the right-field wall to push Cleveland's edge to 2-0. Nixon had not gone deep since July 7. No bitterness from the fans yet. A-Rod got huge cheers during pregame introductions and again when he came to the plate to lead off the bottom of the inning. The place exploded when he crushed Westbrook's full-count fastball for a line-drive single to left-center. The place went dead silent when Jorge Posada grounded into the Yankees' second double play in two innings and Jason Giambi grounded out into the Indians' shift. Still 2-0. But hey, the Yankees have improved their batting average in the series from .121 to .138!!

End-1st: The Indians have a 1-0 lead on Ryan Garko's RBI single up the middle off Clemens, who labored through a 27-pitch inning before he retired the side. Westbrook was much more economical, needing just 11 pitches to set down the Yankees. He benefited from a nifty double play on a Derek Jeter chopper as Jhonny Peralta grabbed it at the bag, with his momentum allowing him to touch the bag and easily flip to first.

Top-1st: If you've never been here, one of the unique things about Yankee Stadium is the "Roll Call" performed by the Bleacher Creatures as soon as the game starts. The folks in deepest right field chant each player's name -- and they don't stop until they're acknowledged with a wave from their hero. It's pretty funny and they just finished their nightly ritual, wrapping it up with a "box seats [stink]" chant. Check out this YouTube video of the roll from a July game. It's a little grainy but the chant comes through fine and you can see the players tipping their gloves to the fans. You might recognize the bald guy leading it as Vinny, one of the fans from the first season of YES' "Ultimate Road Trip" reality show.

--Mike Harrington

(Photos: Associated Press)

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AL Division Series
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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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