Yanks win, with thoughts on Sheppard

SEATTLE -- When Bob Sheppard made the mistake, he was already a legend, while Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada were just kids.

The first time Posada ever heard Sheppard announce his name was in the fall of 1995. Sheppard called him "Posado" when Posada pinch-ran for Wade Boggs.

The next day, Sheppard -- as he was known to do -- came down to the clubhouse to ask if Posada preferred his first name to be pronounced "Hoar-hay" or the Americanized George. Then Sheppard, with a laugh and acknowledgement of his original error, asked if Posada preferred "Posada" or "Posado."

"So he's been Sado ever since," Jeter said.

Sado and Jeter are the Yankees who had the strongest bond with Sheppard, who passed away at 99 on Sunday. While baseball radio play-by-players are the soundtrack of summer, the "Voice of God" was the symphony for the special day when you got to go to the ballpark.

Jeter will keep Sheppard's voice alive by playing his recorded introduction at home for the rest of his career. Posada, who also has a sincere appreciation for Yankees history, is just glad he even heard his name announced by Sheppard one time at the Stadium.

"His voice, nobody's is better," Posada said.

No one is better than the Yankees right now. With CC Sabathia pitching another gem, winning his career-best eighth straight straight, the Yankees crushed the Seattle Mariners 8-2 to preserve the best record in baseball at 56-32.

Despite their record, they are just two games up on the Rays and five on the Red Sox. They feel they can get better.

"Our pitching has carried us," said Mark Teixeira, who had another big day, reaching base for the 32nd consecutive game and finishing the half at .254 with 17 homers and 60 RBIs.

On Sunday, Jeter had a two-run double, while Posada went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Things are going so well that the $300 million man, Alex Rodriguez, tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt in the third. A-Rod felt that Sabathia, already up two runs, just needed one more run. Rodriguez ended up popping out.

A huge hitter who used to put some bunts down was Sheppard's favorite kind of player. While most players really only knew Sheppard as the pristine voice overhead, Posada spent some time with Sheppard, asking about the great Yankees of the past. Many times the conversations turned to Mickey Mantle.

"He saw a lot," Posada said. "I asked him about players and he talked about Mickey Mantle a lot. He loved Mickey Mantle."

The Yankees knew that, at 99, Sheppard lived a full life, and added his name to the legendary ones he would introduce.

"It is extremely sad," manager Joe Girardi said. "When I think of Bob Sheppard, you think of all the tradition with the Yankees. You think about Ruth and Gehrig and Yogi and Joe D. and Mantle and I think you mention Bob Sheppard."

Sheppard's voice lives on -- with his recorded introduction of Jeter, and every time The Captain calls out to the catcher, "Sado."

GAME NOTES: The Yankees were taking two separate planes out of Seattle. One was going back to New York and one was going to Anaheim. Girardi, with eight Yankees All-Stars joining him for the Midsummer Classic, said the plane to Anaheim would have more people on it. … Sabathia retired 16 of 18 batters faced, including 11 straight at one point, from the second through the fifth. &3133; The Yankees open the second half of the season Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Andrew Marchand covers baseball for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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