Yankees need video help to edge Indians
Even while the umpires checked the replay, Yankees manager Joe Girardi never wavered in his certainty that Jorge Posada's fly to right was a home run.
The way the ball has been flying out of the new Yankee Stadium, who could blame him?
After an 8 1/2-minute delay, crew chief Jerry Crawford confirmed the original call on Posada's pinch-hit two-run homer, and New York went on to spoil former teammate Carl Pavano's return with a 7-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
"I thought it was a home run, I did," Girardi said. "I know it was very close and a lot of times you could be wrong with the naked eye. I actually thought it was a home run."
Posada's homer was the 20th 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.
"The last two days the wind was blowing out, so today was a bit more normal," said Posada, whose homer was the 14th to right field.
Posada was batting for Jose Molina when he sent a high fly to right off Jensen Lewis (1-2) with one out. Trevor Crowe leaped at the wall, but the ball was deflected by a fan and bounced off the top and then off Crowe's glove before falling back into play.
The homer brought up memories of Derek Jeter's homer against Baltimore in the 1996 playoffs, when fan Jeffrey Maier reached over the wall in nearly the same spot at the old Yankee Stadium to catch the drive above Tony Tarasco. There was no replay back then.
"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."
Posada couldn't see the ball until it hit the warning track, and didn't know it was a home run until he was past second base and approaching Cody Ransom, who had held up at third. That's when Posada saw third base umpire Mike Estabrook signal it was a home run.
"I was hoping the ball would carry the way it's been carrying," Posada said. "I didn't think it was gone, though."
Crowe ran toward the infield indicating a fan had interfered, and Indians manager Eric Wedge came out to dispute the call.
The umpires convened near the mound before going to the video room through the visitors' dugout. When they returned, they summoned both managers before announcing their decision.
"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."
Crawford declined to comment after the game.
Video replay is in its first full season of use by Major League baseball.
Posada's homer capped the Yankees' three-run rally in the seventh and made it 4-3. Robinson Cano had doubled against reliever Rafael Perez, and Hideki Matsui had hit an RBI single.
New York was 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position after going 1-for-25 in the first three games of the series, in which they were outscored 40-19.
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.
Ransom added a three-run double in the eighth off Rafael Betancourt to make it 7-3.
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 let him hear how they felt from the moment he headed to the bullpen. When he was introduced, the closed captioned scoreboard read, "Carl Pavano, (crowd booed)."
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.
"Pavano pitched a great ballgame for us," Wedge said. "Obviously, in this environment he pitched a fantastic game. He made his pitches. He gave us an opportunity to win the ballgame.
"He's shown some toughness. If anybody needed a thick skin, this was it."
Umpire Mike Estabrook filled in for Ed Hickox, who sustained a concussion during Saturday's game. Hickox will likely miss a week. ... Dr. Lewis Yocum will review the results of the tests on RF Xavier Nady's injured right elbow Monday before deciding what to do. Yocum performed reconstructive surgery on Nady's elbow in September 2001. ... With a nine-run inning Thursday and the big inning Saturday, the Indians became the first visiting team to score nine or more runs in an inning twice in the same series since the Tigers did it in 1907, when the Yankees were called the Highlanders and played at Hilltop Park in upper Manhattan.