- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Jorge Posada lost track of his high-arcing drive to right and was counting on the wind in new Yankee Stadium to help push yet another ball into the stands.

The chilly breeze was swirling a little differently Sunday, and Posada’s ball came down in a tangle of fans and a player at the wall and wasn’t ruled a homer until the umpires went to the video replay for the first time this season. The ruling gave the New York Yankees their first lead over the Cleveland Indians in a game they went on to win 7-3.

“The last two days the wind was blowing out,” Posada said. “(Sunday) it was blowing more normal.”

Posada’s longball, which evoked memories of 12-year-old fan Jeffrey Maier trying to catch Derek Jeter’s drive at the right-field wall in the 1996 AL championship series, was the 20th home run hit at Yankee Stadium, the most ever in the first four games at a big league ballpark, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous high was 16 in 1996, when Oakland opened the season at Cashman Field in Las Vegas.

Posada was batting for Jose Molina when he lofted a pitch from Jensen Lewis (1-2) with one out. Trevor Crowe leaped but the ball was deflected by a fan and bounced off Crowe’s glove and the top of the wall before falling back into play _ at about the same spot Maier reached over the wall and got a glove on Jeter’s hit.

The difference between the Maier play and this one is that there is instant replay in the big leagues now.

The umpires called it a homer and Crowe ran toward the infield indicating a fan had interfered. Indians manager Eric Wedge came out to dispute the call.

“I didn’t take into account that I’d have to get above the fan to get the ball,” Crowe said. “I watched the replay and it looked like his glove was outstretched on top of mine. It all happened so fast.”

The umpires met behind the pitcher’s mound for a few minutes and then went to the replay room through the visitors’ dugout, where they spent several more minutes.

The umpires returned and summoned the managers. Yankees manager Joe Girardi was called first.

“I thought it was a home run, I did,” said Girardi, who admitted being nervous when he was called ahead of Indians manager Eric Wedge.

But crew chief Jerry Crawford, who declined comment after the game, confirmed the on-field call: home run.

“I thought it never got on top of the wall where the fan was. My argument was the fan and the glove came together, but the replay, they said it was beyond the fence,” Wedge said. “They had limited views. They did the best they could.”

Posada’s homer capped the Yankees’ three-run rally in the seventh that spoiled former teammate Carl Pavano’s stellar outing and made it 4-3. Robinson Cano had doubled against reliever Rafael Perez, and Hideki Matsui had hit an RBI single.

Jonathan Albaladejo (1-0) entered with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh to get the win. Brian Bruney pitched the eighth and Mariano Rivera gave up a hit in the ninth to finish the four-hitter.

Shin Soo-Choo homered in the second inning, a day after he hit a three-run shot in a record 14-run second for Cleveland, and Ryan Garko hit a two-run shot in the third to temporarily take the focus of the boos off Pavano and onto A.J. Burnett, who walked seven and threw three wild pitches _ but allowed only three hits.

Pavano was making his first start against the Yankees since the team declined the option on his $39.95 million contract after four miserable years. The 43,068 at Yankee Stadium _ there were many empty seats down the lines in the expensive Legends Suite seats _ let him hear how they felt from the moment he headed to the bullpen to warm up.

But Pavano silenced the surly crowd, retiring the first 10 Yankees before Jeter’s liner to right-center fell for a double. Mark Teixeira drove him in with a sharp single to right with two outs in the fourth to make it 3-1.

Red Sox 2, Orioles 1

At Boston, Jon Lester pitched seven shutout innings for the Red Sox’s fourth straight win.

Lester (1-2), who had allowed 11 runs in 12 innings his first two starts of the season, held the Orioles to four singles while striking out nine.

Koji Uehara (2-1) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings for the Orioles, who lost their fourth straight.

Rangers 6, Royals 5

At Arlington, Texas, Michael Young hit a leadoff homer in the ninth inning to help the Rangers win just their second in nine games.

Young ripped a 1-0 pitch from Kyle Farnsworth (0-3) into the seats in left-center for his first career game-winning homer. Farnsworth has lost three of the Royals’ five games.

Frank Francisco (1-0) pitched the ninth for the win.

Tigers 8, Mariners 2

At Seattle, Rick Porcello shut down the Mariners for seven innings in his second major league start, and Ramon Santiago had a career-high five RBIs for Detroit.

The youngest starting pitcher to take the mound for Detroit in almost 30 years, the 20-year-old Porcello (1-1) gave up one run and five hits.

Carlos Silva (0-2) allowed four runs and six hits in five innings for Seattle.

Blue Jays 1, Oakland 0

At Toronto, Ricky Romero pitched seven sharp innings, striking out a career-high six and allowing only four hits for the Blue Jays.

Romero (2-0) lowered his ERA to 1.71 before Scott Downs worked a perfect eighth and B.J. Ryan finished for his second save in three chances.

Dallas Braden (1-2) gave up one run in a career-high 7 1-3 innings for Oakland.

Twins 3, Angels 1

At Minneapolis, Glen Perkins scattered four hits over eight innings to lead the Twins.

Perkins (1-1) took a comebacker off his leg in the seventh but remained in the game. After the bullpen took over, Joe Nathan notched his third save with a hitless ninth.

Shane Loux (0-1) allowed three runs in seven innings for the Angels.

White Sox 12, Rays 2

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Gavin Floyd took a shutout into the seventh inning, and Carlos Quentin and Jim Thome hit back-to-back homers to lead the White Sox.

Floyd (2-1) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings, while A.J. Pierzynski hit his 99th career homer to help Chicago take three of four from Tampa Bay.

Matt Garza (1-1) gave up seven runs and six hits over 5 2-3 innings for the Rays.

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