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Daily News from New York, New York • 764

Publication:
Daily Newsi
Location:
New York, New York
Issue Date:
Page:
764
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

18 BASEBALL DD POSADA OR AP MOTOR CITY MADNESS Joe Torre (I.) takes ball from Andy Pettitte (r.) as Jorge Posada wonders what went wrong. Caught in Tiger trap Wind, errors By THOMAS HILL DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER DETROIT Paul O'Neill always will have a story to tell about the second game he played in Comerica Park. He will be able to relate the tale of a fly ball that took a crazy route through the sky and landed nowhere near where it should have. Just two hours after the play occurred, the Yankees already had assigned it to a special place solely on account of its weirdness. Of course, the Yankees also had considerable incentive to dwell on unpredictable wind patterns and unusual playing conditions inside a month-old ballpark.

Such thinking diverted their attention from truly SKID HITS THREE TIGERS 6 YANKEES 3 inexplicable events: their 6-3 loss yesterday to the Tigers, the second time in less than 24 hours the two-time defending World Series champions had lost to the worst club in the major leagues, and their season-high third straight loss overall. "You hate to see a game decided by weird plays like that," O'Neill said. O'Neill himself acknowledged a short time later that a handful of wind-aided plays were "no reason why we lost; we just got beat." The real reasons ranged from a poor outing by Andy Pettitte (2-2), who could not keep his pitches low in the strike zone, to shaky defense to the Yankees' trouble hitting hard-throwing righthander Jeff Weaver (1-4). The Yankees totaled just seven singles against against Weaver in 623 innings, and only one other single during scoreless innings by the Tigers' bullpen. Pettitte pitched just 423 innings and allowed five earned runs on 10 hits and three Torre sez no DL yet for Jeter By THOMAS HILL DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER DETROIT Joe Torre has no intention of jeopardizing Derek Jeter's season by writing him into the Yankees lineup before he is completely healthy.

Torre, however, also would prefer not to lose his All-Star shortstop's services for any longer than is absolutely necessary. 44 don't want to put him on the disabled list if he's going to be better in a Torre said. "That's a week I could have him." Jeter yesterday missed his second straight start since leaving Thursday night's game with an abdominal strain. The Yankees have lost three straight since Jeter headed to the bench. Six weeks into a season in which the Yankees apparently will have trouble scoring runs, Torre acknowledged yesterday that a week in May without Jeter could have an impact on the season.

"Any time it's important to have him for a week because of what he can do," Torre NOTEBOOK said. "But don't get me wrong. I'm not flirting with his future." wide of Jeter again underwent first. Pettitte made a hurried throw treatment yesterday for his first for an error. That misplay foreshadmuscle strain.

He is not owed more trouble, particularly during the four-run second. supposed to perform any Tigers' baseball activity until after the After rookie second baseman Jose Macias Yankees return to New York. tripled home two runs, Shane Halter hit a "We'll see him when we get hard shot toward the middle that Pettitte home and see what he's like knocked to the ground. He picked it up on Tuesday," Torre said. "If quickly, but again threw wildly past first for there's no marked improveanother error that allowed Macias to score.

ment, we'll think putting Two batters later, Brad Ausmus' RBI single him on the disabled pushed the Yankees into a 4-1 hole from New kid on block: Tigers which they never escaped. rookie second baseman Jose "Everything that could go wrong went Macias is 5-for-9 after the wrong," Pettitte said. first two games of the series. Soon discomfort turned to He had a double, a triple and bewilderment for the Yankees. Pettitte recorded a single yesterday.

Andy the first two outs of the fourth before Juan Encarna- Pettitte pointed to his unfamilcion singled to right and Juan Gonzalez with Macias as one iarity walked. Dean Palmer lofted what appeared reason pitching to the Tigers to be a routine fly ball to right. O'Neill pre- was difficult for him yesterday. pared to catch it, but a gust of wind sudden- "I know he can hit a fastball in ly carried it far from O'Neill's reach. The down the line," Pettitte said.

ball fell for a single while Encarnacion "I know he can hit a fastball scored. the other way. I'll try to get "I had absolutely no chance," O'Neill said. him next time." could have told me where it was going er Allen Watson has reported to land. It's not like it dropped at my feet.

It to Triple- Columbus to begin landed 30-40 feet away." a rehabilitation assignment. Other Yankees observed that the ball shot Torre estimated he would out of the sky as if it had been thrown back need "a week to 10 days" to Earth. "Like someone shot at it like a before returning to the Yanduck," first base coach Lee Mazzilli said. Torre was among "Bam. Went right down." the Yankees who admired the In the sixth, Tigers left fielder Rich Becker spacious outfield at Comerica endured a similar fate.

Bernie Williams hit a Park, an anomaly among retro liner to left that sailed well over Becker's parks that tend to favor hithead as he ran directly toward the wall. ters. "It's fair to the point The final moment of wind-aided entertain- where you can pitch to an ment occurred in the ninth, when Scott Bro- outfield position and get sius hit a foul pop behind the plate and seem- outs," Torre said. "A club like ingly 10 rows into the stands. The ball blew ours would fit in this back into foul territory, where Ausmus, the The Tigers' 29 hits in the Tigers catcher, made a lunging catch while first two games of the series still wearing his mask.

tied their season-high for "From bitter to hopeful to bitter," Brosius back-to-back games. Detroit's said, "all on one popup." 298 hits and and 128 runs Only comic relief spared the Yankees are the fewest in the majors. from a thoroughly dissatisfying day. AP Tigers' Jose Macias follows flight of tworun triple in second inning yesterday. walks in his poorest start of the season.

Pettitte also committed two throwing errors and lost for the first time since his initial start this season, on April 7. Just like Roger Clemens who lasted just innings Friday night Pettitte brought an end to a recent run of strong starts. "For the most part, I felt good," Pettitte said. "I got out of some jams, but I was in so much trouble all day. It was just too much." Since he came off the DL April 26, Pettitte had gone 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three starts.

His good fortune came to an end as soon as he took the mound and fielded a bunt by Luis Polonia leading off the bottom of the.

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