FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- Jason Giambi answered the boos with a
blast -- and the Yankees beat the Red Sox when it didn't count.
In his best game since becoming the public face of baseball's
steroids controversy, Giambi went 2-for-5 with a homer to center
field and the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 9-2 Monday
night in an exhibition game.
"A lot of the hard work paid off tonight," said Giambi,
3-for-12 this spring. "Every day is getting better and better."
The Yankees couldn't beat the Red Sox when it did count last
season, losing four straight games after taking a 3-0 lead in the
AL championship series. That was the worst postseason collapse in
baseball history and Boston swept St. Louis in the World Series.
Monday night's game at City of Palms Park -- the first between
the teams since the Game 7 loss at Yankee Stadium -- was much better
for Giambi, who was not on the ALCS roster.
"Tonight was a good night for him," Yankees manager Joe Torre
said. "I'm sure he feels good about it. I know we were pleased
because he didn't let the emotion of where we were and who we were
playing against interfere with what he was working on."
The game was a minor event in the rich rivalry between the
teams. It was the Yankees' first win since Game 3 of the ALCS. They
were 0-4-1 in their previous four exhibition games.
Giambi took it all in stride despite the boos before each at-bat
-- signing autographs for 25 minutes, knocking fists with on-deck
hitter Bernie Williams after his homer in the fifth that made it
5-1 and trotting back to the dugout after a routine groundout in
With fans chanting "Steroids!", Giambi hit a solo shot just to
the right of the 410-foot mark in center field.
"Everybody knows that he's not using anything and he still hit
the ball like that," Boston's David Ortiz said. "People ought to
give Jason a chance. He's a great dude, man."
The San Francisco Chronicle reported in December that Giambi
told a federal grand jury in 2003 that he had used steroids.
Hideki Matsui also hit a solo homer for the Yankees and Bubba
Crosby drove in three runs with a double and triple as the Yankees
pounded seven pitchers for 14 hits.
Starter Chien-Ming Wang, likely the first pitcher the Yankees
would recall from the minors, threw two scoreless innings for the
Abe Alvarez allowed two runs on four hits in the first two
innings and took the loss. He gave up Giambi's single after hearing
fans boo the Yankees fallen star.
"I try to shut them out, but you still hear them," Alvarez
Trot Nixon homered for Boston, which lost its sixth straight
exhibition game to New York. It was Nixon's criticism of Rodriguez
on Feb. 15 that started a week of sniping by Boston players against
the New York third baseman.
Monday's atmosphere was much different than the Yankees' last
spring training victory over the Red Sox exactly one year earlier
on the same field.
That was Rodriguez's first game against Boston with New York
after the Red Sox had failed to obtain him in a trade with Texas.
More of the Yankees' big names went to that game and the media
contingent was larger.
The Yankees first baseman in that game also showed power -- two
homers by Tony Clark in an 11-7 victory that Giambi didn't play in.
Giambi's homer Monday was his second after last June 20.
The Yankees went ahead 2-0 in the second on RBI singles by Russ
Johnson and David Parrish. They made it 4-0 on Crosby's triple in
the fourth. Nixon homered in the bottom of the fourth before Giambi
connected. Johnson's sacrifice fly made it 6-1 in the sixth.
^Notes:@ Ruben Sierra was a late scratch from the Yankees' lineup
when he strained the left side of his rib cage in batting practice.
...The seven Yankees regulars who made the two-hour trip from Tampa
were Giambi, Matsui, Crosby, Sierra, Williams, Tony Womack and, Rey
Sanchez. ... Boston scored a run in the seventh on Adam Hyzdu's RBI
single. ... David Wells threw a simulated game for Boston before