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06/24/07 10:24 PM ET
Yankees fall to aggressive Giants
Clemens makes second career relief appearance
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Alex Rodriguez's Bay Area weekend opened with raves about appreciating the city's vibe, its stadium location and enjoyable climate. Yet by late afternoon Sunday, Rodriguez's Yankees teammates couldn't wait to jet out of town, suffering a 7-2 defeat Sunday to drop the rubber game of the three-game series. Rodriguez may have learned something new in his 72 hours near China Basin. The slugger loves hitting here -- his torrid 9-for-13 weekend proved that much -- but A-Rod suggested that the Yankees had trouble adapting to the faster, more exciting National League style of play. "It's an attack-mode game," Rodriguez said. "Our league is basically stationary softball. We're not used to bunting and there's not much running that goes on, with the exception of a few teams. It's a different approach." That plan carried the sub-.500 Giants past starter Mike Mussina and the Yankees on Sunday, as the right-hander was chased after just five innings in a 105-pitch effort. From there, on a day when the park honored the two clubs that met in the 1962 World Series, the Giants took advantage of an old geographical trait from Candlestick Park, forcing outfielders to squint into San Francisco's high blue sky for disappearing fly balls. Then, for good measure, they beat up on a Yankees bullpen that happened to include 44-year-old Roger Clemens, born the year Bobby Richardson snagged Willie McCovey's line drive to end that memorable Fall Classic. The Yankees never led in the game as Mussina (3-5) suffered his second consecutive loss, walking three and striking out five, allowing five hits. "It just wasn't really a fun day to be playing," Mussina said. "It was one of those days where you don't have the pitch to get someone out." San Francisco touched Mussina for two runs in the second inning, as even lumbering Barry Bonds got into the act, singling, stealing a base -- his 263rd as a Giant, tying his father, Bobby Bonds, for ninth place on the club's all-time list -- and scoring on a sacrifice fly. Guillermo Rodriguez tacked on a run-scoring double. The Giants surprised with more NL-style aggressiveness in the fourth. Saturday's hero, Nate Schierholtz, led off with a bloop single and stole second off Mussina, moving to third as catcher Wil Nieves' throw trickled through the play and into center field -- one of five steals by the Giants, who took advantage of Mussina's slow move. Batting with one out, pitcher Noah Lowry squeezed and first baseman Miguel Cairo bounced the 20-foot throw to Nieves as Schierholtz slid into the catcher's left shin guard, toppling Nieves for the Giants' third run. The Yankees loaded the bases against Lowry (7-6) in the sixth, as the left-hander walked Melky Cabrera and Derek Jeter around a hit to Cairo, bringing up Rodriguez, who would wrap up his productive weekend batting at an obscene .692 clip with five runs scored, a homer and four RBIs.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.