NEW YORK -- Jose Contreras wriggled out of a couple jams at
Yankee Stadium. One fan apparently put himself in much more serious
danger and was fortunate to survive.
The game was delayed for four minutes in the eighth inning after
18-year-old Scott Harper of Armonk, N.Y., plummeted about 40 feet
from the upper deck onto the large net behind home plate.
"That was the only exciting thing that happened today,"
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said.
After the final out, Harper was carried from the ballpark on a
stretcher, his head immobilized in a neck brace, and taken to
Lincoln Hospital for observation.
Harper told three friends he was sitting with that he was going
to test whether the net would hold his weight -- and then he jumped,
Obviously shaken after he landed, Harper sat with his head in
his hands for a few moments before climbing on the net back up to
the loge level as players watched and the crowd roared. He was
hoisted over the railing and led away by security.
Det. Kevin Czartoryski said Harper was arrested and police
expect to charge him with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief,
criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
"I've never seen anything like that before," Chicago manager
Ozzie Guillen said. "I think that's New York, you know, anything
It was the second time in five years a fan fell or jumped from
the upper deck at Yankee Stadium. In May 2000, 24-year-old Stephen
Laurenzi of Yonkers, N.Y., was unconscious for a short time while
sprawled on the netting as a game between Boston and New York went
on. He also was arrested and taken to a hospital for observation.
In 1997 and 1998, there was only a high backstop behind the
plate and no netting extending to the stands.
Konerko hit his 28th homer leading off the ninth against Alan
Embree, leaving Steinbrenner upset with Joe Torre .
"I'm not pleased with the manager," Steinbrenner said. "I
don't know why they kept the left-hander in there. ... He should
never have pitched to Konerko. Konerko's their best hitter."
Alex Rodriguez hit his AL-leading 33rd homer and third in three
days leading off the bottom half against Politte. Bernie Williams,
who missed the previous two games with a sore right shoulder, came
off the bench for the Yankees with runners at the corners in the
ninth. He was 5-for-6 against Chicago closer Dustin Hermanson
before lining out to first to end the game.
Hermanson threw only one pitch for his 29th save in 30 chances.
The White Sox, who have the best record in baseball, rebounded
nicely one night after the Yankees beat another ex-teammate,
Contreras (7-6) allowed only a first-inning single to Cano, a
leadoff single to Rodriguez in the fourth and a leadoff single to
Tony Womack in the eighth. The big right-hander struck out six and
walked two in seven-plus innings, outpitching Shawn Chacon.
"I think it's my best outing in a major-league uniform,"
The Yankees signed Contreras to a $32 million, four-year
contract after he defected from Cuba in October 2002, but he
struggled badly against the rival Red Sox and was inconsistent
throughout his season and a half in New York.
He was dealt to Chicago for Esteban Loaiza at the trade deadline
"You always know that the Yankees' future is right this minute,
and that was just an example of that," Torre said.
The Yankees got another excellent outing from Chacon (0-1), the
hard-luck loser. He gave up only Iguchi's fourth-inning homer and
two singles in seven innings, lowering his ERA to 1.42 in three
starts with New York since he was acquired from Colorado.
"That's a tough loss," Chacon said.
Chacon retired nine straight batters before Iguchi lofted a 1-1
pitch over the short porch in right field.
Contreras got in trouble in the bottom half, but struck out
Jason Giambi with Rodriguez on third for the second out. Jorge
Posada then hit a sharp grounder that appeared headed up the middle
for an RBI single, but it deflected off Contreras to Konerko at
first base, and he tagged Posada to end the inning.
Contreras also retired Hideki Matsui with two on to end the
first and a runner at second to end the sixth.
"His arm angle was a little different. I think he threw a
little more sidearm than when he was with us," Derek Jeter said.
"I think it caused his fastball to move more."
Both benches were warned after Contreras plunked Rodriguez
with first base open in the first inning. ... LHP Randy Johnson
will miss his next turn in the rotation because of a bad back,
leaving the Yankees unsure who will start Thursday night against
Texas. It probably will be RHP Scott Proctor if he's not needed
Wednesday against Chicago.