Maybe this is too much to read into a single inning of a baseball game, particularly when a team’s still 1–8 against their rival, but the fourth inning of last night’s 13–6 win at Yankee Stadium certainly felt like the Yankees regaining the upper hand against the Red Sox. Whether it owed to the David Ortiz PED revelations or to it being August and the Yankees entering the game in first place, there was a swagger to the crowd last night. An anti-Ortiz sign was unfurled over the batter’s eye, while the old-standby “1918” taunts reappeared, the implication being that the last five years may as well not have happened. And whether or not there’s a lot of logic to that, if that’s what it takes to get a feisty crowd — the largest in the new stadium’s young history and the first sellout since Opening Day — to cheer like it’s still October 2003, then so be it.
On the field, Boston trotted out the aging veteran to pitch against the young Yankees star, while offering a bizarre lineup that included Kevin Youkilis in left field. Though Dustin Pedroia hitting an opposite-field home run (the first of his life) will at least serve as a nice shorthand in evaluating this park’s ridiculous dimensions, Joba Chamberlain wasn’t very good. But John Smoltz was worse. And the Yankees lineup was relentless, led by Melky Cabrera and Jorge Posada, who each hit a three-run homer in the eight-run fourth inning that blew the game open. By the time Anthony Claggett recorded the last out, the stadium had emptied out, but for the right reasons: The game hadn’t been competitive for hours.