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Yanks Miss A Beat, Finally Drop One


Todd Stottlemyre made it a difficult day for his family and the New York Yankees.
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  • With his father sitting in the opposing dugout and his mother abandoning her usual seat in the stands, Stottlemyre helped stop the Yankees' nine-game winning streak, pitching the Texas Rangers to a 16-5 romp Saturday.

    The victory gave Stottlemyre and his dad -- Yankees pitching coach, Mel -- a total of 284 wins, the most ever by a father-son tandem.

    "This was probably, emotionally, the toughest game I've ever pitched, and that includes World Series games," Todd said. "Whatever the outcome, the little kid in me wanted to make him proud. I'm glad I got an opportunity to do it, and I'm glad it's over."

    It was not easy on Mel, either, as Todd gave up four runs in the first inning. Yet Stottlemyre (2-1) overcame his shaky start and left with a 7-5 lead after the sixth, allowing nine hits and six walks.

    "It's a day I should've stayed home," Mel said. "Watching my son struggle and our guy struggle. ... It was real difficult, a tough day on me overall."

    Rusty Greer hit a grand slam in a six-run second inning, and had an RBI single in a six-run ninth. Mike Simms homered and drove in four runs as Texas stopped a three-game losing streak.

    A crowd of 53,117 saw New York's 10-game home winning string stopped. Hideki Irabu (11-6) lasted only 2 1/3 innings in his shortest outing of the season.

    The Yankees surrendered their most runs since July 18, 1996, when they lost 16-4 at Milwaukee.

    Stottlemyre, traded from St. Louis to Texas on July 31, won for the fourth straight time at YankeStadium. His 12 career victories over the Yankees are his most against any team.

    Never before had Todd pitched a game in the majors in which his dad sat in either dugout.

    "Walking out on the bullpen and seeing Pops walking out with his pitcher, it'll be a great memory," Todd said.

    "I looked him in the eye when he went to warm up," Mel said. "It was a neat thing, watching your kid pitch on the same field."

    The whole scene was tough on Todd's mother, Jean, too -- she moved from her normal spot in the Yankees wives' section and instead sat with Todd's wife, Sheri, behind the plate.

    "My stomach's in knots," Jean said early in the game. "Blood's thicker than anything else. That's my son out there. Of course I'm going to root for my son."

    "This has always been their dream. Not necessarily to be against each other but to be on the same field like this," she said. "I'm happy for Mel and Todd, but I have not looked forward to this day."

    Sheri, holding daughter Rachel in her lap, had no trouble picking favorites.

    "Yeah, Mel can afford to lose one game," she said.

    Of course, the Stottlemyres might face another dilemma in the future if the Yankees and Texas meet in the playoffs. For now, the whole family was going to dinner Saturday night.

    "If there's anything refreshing about today, I guess it's that he needed it and their team needed it more than we did," Mel said.

    Stottlemyre struggled at the start, though his fielders offered little assistance.

    Chuck Knoblauch led off with a double and scored when Paul O'Neill singled off second baseman Luis Alicea's glove. After a walk, Tino Martinez hit a two-hopper up the middle that handcuffed Alicea -- it, too, was scored a hit -- and the bases were loaded.

    Tim Raines drove in one run with a soft single just beyond the reach of shortstop Royce Clayton, and Jorge Posada hit a grounder just past Clayton's dive for two more runs.

    Irabu could not hold the 4-0 edge in the second. Clayton doubled home a run, Tom Goodwin lined an RBI single off Irabu's leg and a walked loaded the bases.

    Greer sliced an opposite-field drive to left, and the ball landed in the first row of the seats inside the 318-foot mark at the foul pole. Greer's fifth career grand slam made it 6-4.

    Bernie Williams hit a sacrifice fly in the Yankees second, but Derek Jeter was thrown out when he tried to score from second on the play.

    Simms hit an RBI single in the third for a 7-5 lead, finishing Irabu, and added a three-run homer in the eighth. He tied career highs with four RBI and three hits, and also hit his fourth home run in six games.

    Notes

  • The Yankees dropped to 47-9 at home.
  • Juan Gonzalez flied out to the warning track in his first two at-bats, then singled to end an 0-for-11 skid.
  • Martinez went 4-for-4 with two doubles and a walk.

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