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06/23/07 3:14 AM ET
Yankees enjoy visit to San Francisco
Igawa strong through four innings before rocky fifth frame
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Over the course of five innings, Kei Igawa showed the Yankees he was ready to be back, then glimpses of why he'd been sent down in the first place. But the Yankees' bats, paced by Alex Rodriguez's four hits and two RBIs, produced enough to gloss over any mistakes -- even Barry Bonds' 749th career home run -- in reeling off a 7-3 victory over the Giants on Friday at AT&T Park. "Alex, with his ability, as comfortable as he appears to be, the sky is the limit," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He's scary. He really is scary. He scares people like Barry does." Less than two hours after relaying his excitement to play in this stadium for the All-Star Game on July 10, Rodriguez proved it with a double down the left-field line before coming around on a Hideki Matsui sacrifice fly. "This is one of the most beautiful settings of any ballpark," Rodriguez said. "It's just a great place. Of all the new parks, it's my favorite." Robinson Cano stroked a two-out single, but Giants starter Matt Cain appeared to work out of damage by getting Miguel Cairo to loft a popup in foul ground to right. A fan touched the ball, interrupting Randy Winn's pursuit and extending the at-bat for Cairo, who walked. Igawa also worked a free pass and Melky Cabrera made the Giants pay, stroking a two-run single to put the Yankees up by three. Suddenly forgotten was the Yankees' frustrating three-game trek to the once-hitter-friendly Coors Field in Colorado, where the Bombers managed just five runs in a series sweep and went 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position. "I think everyone just accepted what happened in Colorado and had a fresh approach," Matsui said. New York tacked on two more runs in the fifth. Bobby Abreu doubled off the warning track in right-center field to score Derek Jeter, and Rodriguez lined a single to center knocking in Yankees' fifth run. It all chased the struggling Cain, who allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out none. Cruising through the first four innings, it didn't appear that Igawa would need much help, but the left-hander -- returned to the big leagues to take the rotation slot formerly assigned to Tyler Clippard -- seemed to hit trouble getting the ball down in the fifth. Leadoff batter Kevin Frandsen started a succession of hard-hit balls by doubling and scoring on an Omar Vizquel single, and Igawa loaded the bases via a hit and a walk. That set up a crucial showdown with Bonds, who walked on a high-and-away fastball to force home San Francisco's second run and end Igawa's night after 79 pitches, five hits and three walks. "I just didn't get the results today," Igawa said through an interpreter. "I'll do better next time. I [was] happy with my first four innings."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.