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Game 22: White Sox @ Yankees

Live from the post-game clubhouse: Joe Girardi restates the obvious -- "Derek's a winner'' -- but every so often, what should be obvious needs to be re-stated. Just to remind everyone, you know, why it's so obvious. Derek Jeter was the story of this one -- as Andy Pettitte said, "Who else would you want at the plate in that situation?'' -- but there were plenty of sub-plots as well, including how Robbie Cano, the team leader in just about every offensive category, may have actually cost the Yankees a run n their 6-4 win over the White Sox, and why Girardi chose to bypass Marcus Thames, and his .659 average against left-handed pitching, and allow Brett Gardner to bat for himself against Matt Thornton in the seventh -- and why he looks like a genius for it. And now that April's over -- a 15-7 April despite 15 road games -- it may actually be time for Mark Teixeira to join the fun, too. More to come in my column, up soon. I promise.

10:06: Da-da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da-da . . . Rivera strikes out Beckham to end the game. Two hours, fifty-eight minutes. Joe west'll take it and so will the Yankees.

10:03: Rivera strikes out Ramirez, number 1,014 of his career, ties Roger Clemens for 10th place on all-time Yankee K list

10:01: Rivera goes to 3-2 on Juan Pierre, then gets him to line softly to A-Rod. One out in the ninth.

9:56: Yankees down in the eighth and ladies and gentlemen, once again it is Mo Town in the Bronx.

9:46: Nice play by Jeter, who's had a terrific all-around night, to cut off Kotsay's grounder behind second and throw himout for the second out of the inning. A.J. Pierzynski, hitting for Lucy, grounds out to end the inning.

9:43: Lefty-swinging Mark Kotsay hitting for Nix vs. Joba

9:41: To the delight of the crowd, the Damaso Marte Experiment comes to a rapid end after Teahen grounds out. Joba coming in to face Nix.

9:40: Crowd grumbling as Marte goes to 3-1 to left-hander Mark Teahen

9:38: Tonight it's Damaso Marte's chance to try to get the ball to Mariano. But don't worry, Joba's up in the pen just in case.

9:37: And he pops out to end the inning

9:36: A-Rod really looks like a bad-a** in his Yankee Stadium message board photo. Kinda funny.

9:35: Teixeira walks; A-Rod up.

9:34: This is Jeter's first 4-ribbie game since 06

9:32: Santos gets Posada swinging at a surve in the dirt. Teixeira, who still has three hours of April to suffer through,coming up.

9:28: Ozzie Guillen brings in RHP Sergio Santos to turn Posada around.

9:27: Jeter takes a second crack at it and gets it right, a sinking liner 10 feet inside the RF foul line that goes for a triple and, of course, drives in both runners. 6-4 Yankees, Posada coming up to PH for Johnson, still only one out in the seventh.

9:25: Jeter just excited the crowd with an opposite field liner deep into the RF corner, but it hooks foul at the last moment. Awwwww!

9:22: Gardner singles and the Yankees have two runners on, one out, and Jeter at bat.

9:19: El Nino, put on the gear. Only kidding. Francisco Cervelli plunked in the right shoulder with a fastball, appears to be OK.

9:17: Curtis Granderson, who couldn't hit a lefty if you dropped him on Keith Olbermann, looks bad striking out against Thornton to lead off the seventh.

9:14: Left-hander Matt Thornton in to pitch for the White sox to start the home seventh. Garcia's line: 6IP, 5H, 4ER.

9:11: Aceves wiggles out of trouble when Carlos Quentin's liner, headed for LF corner, winds up in A-Rod's glove.

9:09: Joe Girardi clearly learned his lesson from the Kendry Morales debacle. After ball one to Konerko, calls for intentional walk to AL's HR leader.

9:08: White Sox have a man on second with two following Rios' single and stolen base and the dangerous Konerko at bat.

9:07: Incidentally, Pettitte's ERA leaped from 1.29 to 2.12

9:05: Alfredo Aceves takes over for Pettitte in the seventh. Pettitte's line: 6IP, 7H, 4ER, 2BB, 3K, 1HR. His worst outing of the year by far, but still leaves his team very much in the ballgame.

9:01: And incredibly, Freddy Garcia is through six innings, too, after setting down A-Rod, Cano and Swisher on 10 pitches.

8:54: Another good inning by Pettitte, who seemed to have no chance to survive the second inning by the way he pitched the first, but now is through six with his team tied 4-4.

8:47: Teixeira flies out to moderately deep center to end the inning.

8:46: Garcia walks Johnson now. The glass slipper is coming off here with two out in the fifth.

8:42: Jeter ties the game with a home run into the left-field seats, now has twice as many HRS as Teixeira in April, or as many as Teixeira and A-Rod combined.

8:41: Gardner steals second on 1-0 pitch, his 10th in 11 attempts.

8:39: Gardner's two-out single in the fifth is first Yankee hit after 12 straight batters retired by Garcia. Jeter at plate.

8:33: Pettitte works out of trouble in the fifth, gets Teahen to bounce out with two runners on.

8:32: A chunk of really good empty seats just behind the moat to the right of home plate. Cant see the corresponding section underneath me, but that doesn't bode well on a perfect baseball night in NYC.

8:29: Pettitte walks Konerko and Aceves gets up in the Yankee bullpen.

8:27: Where are all the stats geeks now who , with the help of slide rules, engineering calculators and various other gizmos, decided two years ago that Jeter is the worst-fielding SS in baseball? Nifty backhand stop on grounder in hole starts rundown to erase lead runner Beckham in the fifth.

8:23: Pettitte's streak of seven straight retired is broken by Beckham's line single to center leading off the fifth.

8:20: Freddy Garcia, who couldn't win the fifth spot in the Mets rotation last year, has now set down 10 straight Yankees and has not allowed a hit since the first inning.

8:12: Three soft outs by White Sox in the third. Pettitte seems to be settling in after rough start, but pitch count up to 62 through three innings

8:05: Yankees down quietly in the third, now seven in a row retired by Freddy Garcia.

7:59: Pettitte just threw his best pitch of the night, a curve that froze Mark Teahen for strike 3, then completed 1-2-3 third getting Nix to ground out.

7:54: Yankees down in order in the second

7:50: Pettitte keeps Konerko in the park to end the inning on line out to medium right.

7:48: Alex Rios singles sharply and Dave Eiland is on the run to the mound for the second time in two innings.

7:45:White Sox add a run on Beckham's sac fly, 4-2 Chicago.

7:44: Pettitte walks Juan Pierre, now first and second, none out in the second

7:42: Sox catcher Donny Lucy greets Pettitte with line double into RC gap leading off the second

7:38: Unusual DP ends the first inning -- Swisher retired on grounder down 1B line, first baseman Konerko pegs to second for tag out on sliding Cano. 3-2 Sox after one.

7:36: Right now, Cano cannot be stopped. singles home the Yankees second run, now first and third, one out, Swisher at the plate

7:33: A-Rod's double into right-field corner snaps 0-for-19 slump, more importantly, gets the Yankees on the board, 3-1. Teixeira at third, A-Rod at second, one out for red-hot Cano

7:30: Evidence the slow start is getting to Johnson? Just struck out on a 1-2 pitch that did not look like a strike. Well, at least he swung

7:29: Pettittethrew 26 pitches in the first inning, had two strikes on Ramirez, Beckham and Konerko. First two got hits, Konerko hit the HR that gave the White sox the early lead.

7:24: Pettitte closes first inning strong with two strikeouts, but the White Sox three runs makes this his worst inning of the season so far.

7:17: Swisher did a nice job of feigning a HR-saving catch but no go; Paul Konerko, the major-league leader in HRs with 11, just reaches the RF seats and it's 3-0 White Sox in the first. Pettitte's April is not ending as well as it began.

7:14: And a second flare, by Gordon Beckham, drops in front of Swisher to give the White Sox first and second, none out in the first.

7:12: I think Cano might have been in the middle of acknowledging the roll call when leadoff hitter Alexei Ramirez' flare just eluded his glove for a single

7:05: Beautiful night for a ballgame here at the Stadium tonight. Crowd a bit sparse at this point. Just about to get underway.

Live from the pre-game clubhouse: Yankees manager Joe Girardi said catcher Jorge Posada is on track to play Saturday or Sunday and could pinch hit tonight if needed. Posada missed Thursday's game in Baltimore after being hit by a pitch Wednesday.

"He's moving in the right direction," Girardi said.

"I could've played tonight," Posada said, "but Joe wanted to give me an extra day."

Once again, Francisco Cervelli took Posada's place behind the plate and batted eighth in the lineup.

On a more important note, Posada, a big fight fan, said he was rooting for Shane Mosley in his junior welterweight bout against Floyd Mayweather Saturday night in Las Vegas, although he was not confident about the outcome. "I'd like to see Mosley win but I think Mayweather might be too good for him,'' Posada said.

Asked why he preferred to see Mosley win, Posada said, "Mayweather talks to much trash. I know he's just playing a part, but he plays it a little too good.''

Javier Vazquez, scheduled to make his first Yankee Stadium appearance on Saturday since his poor start against the Angels in the second home game of the year on April 14, ducked out of the clubhouse without speaking to the media, whch was very eager to speak to him, before Friday night's game against the White Sox.

"I think it's possible he's trying too hard, I do,'' Joe Girardi said. "When you see a lot of the other starting pitchers pitching at a high level, you want to be a part of it, too. You want to contribute. You want to prove you're worthy of being a Yankee. And a lot of times when players go through that, they get away from what made them successful.''

Girardi acknowledged Vazquez is likely to get a rough reception from the home crowd Saturday afternoon following his poor outing in Anaheim last sunday, when he couldn;t get through four innings and allowed five runs. "He's aware of what possibly can happen (Saturday),'' Girardi said. "When a player gets booed at Yankee Stadium, its because the crowd really cares, and the player has to learn to deal with it. It doesn;t make it any easier, but I think (Vazquez) understands it.''

GM Brian Cashman said he was not concerned about crowd reaction or its effect on Vazquez. "He's a professional and he'll deal with it,'' Cashman said. "Bottom line is, these guys are human beings and no one wants to be disappointing to themselves, to their teammates, nobody wants to have to answer tough questions, listen to the boos. Nobody wants to do that stuff, and if you can remain even-keeled, -- like Robbie Cano, for instance -- you have an easier time of getting through it.''

Cashman said he has no complaints so far with Nick Johnson, who has struggled in the No. 2 spot as the replacement for Johnny Damon. "Don't change him,'' Cashman said. "I want what I bought. I don't want anything about him to change. Including his health.''

Robinson Cano (.407) is the first Yankee to lead the majors in hitting through the month of April since Paul O'Neill batted .448 for April 1994 on his way to hitting .359 for the year and winning the AL batting crown. Asked to compare the two players, Girardi said, "Well, Robby smiles more than Paul did. Let's leave it at that.''

Here are the lineups for tonight's series opener between the Yankees and the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium:

White Sox

Ramirez SS

Beckham 2B

Rios CF

Konerko 1B

Quentin DH

Teahen 3B

Nix RF

Lucy C

Pierre LF

Garcia RHP

For the White Sox, Andruw Jones was scratched just before the game with back spasms; his place in RF was taken by Jayson Nix.

Yankees

Derek Jeter 2B

Nick Johnson DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Alex Rodriguez 3B

Robinson Cano 2B

Nick Swisher RF

Curtis Granderson CF

Francisco Cervelli C

Brett Gardner LF

Andy Pettitte P