Damon Haunts Sox

Daisuke Matsuzaka battled Andy Pettitte to a 3-3 tie into the seventh inning last night, but Johnny Damon stuck it to his old team with a two run homer off Dice-K in the seventh to give the Yankees a 5-3 win over the Red Sox in New York.

Michael Silverman says that losing Manny Ramirez and Bobby Kielty to back injuries during this one caused “enough M. Night Shyamalan-type signs hovering over the Bronx to give Red Sox followers a minor case of the heebie-jeebies” – whatever that means. Gordon Edes says that after hitting the game winner, Damon “deflected every invitation to send a verbal tweak toward the team that let him go” – whatever that means. Who was doing the inviting? Boston writers or New York? Bill Ballou says that Matsuzaka is a strong candidate for Disappointment of the Year – whatever that means. Jeff Goldberg says that Damon’s home run went to the same spot that his 2004 ALCS Game 7 grand slam went, and “the Yankees hope it sparks some comeback payback.” Whatever that means. Sean McAdam doesn’t say anything silly in his game recap.

Despite declaring the AL East race over a couple of days ago, Tony Massarotti says that the Red Sox would be well served to take the next two games and put a dent in the Yankees playoff plans. Dan Shaughnessy says that the AL East might be over, but the Yankees could still do some damage in the post season and meet up with the Red Sox again. Shaughnessy does manage to fit in some jabs at Curt Schilling, which is always fun. Steve Buckley says that Damon might’ve been miserable earlier this season in New York, but he’s happy (and healthier) now. Nick Cafardo gushes over Damon.

Rob Bradford has Matsuzaka once again failing to get his 14th win, and sporting a 6.91 ERA against the Yankees this season. Jon Couture has the Yankees, like the Red Sox, using more youngsters this season. Chad Finn goes nine innings on Red Sox/Yankees. As usual, Finn hits the nail on the head:

I've been reluctant to declare American League East race ovah, for two reasons: First, there is a tendency among certain media members to race to become the first to pronounce the Yankees dead . . . and then, when they inevitably crawl out of the crypt, history is somehow revised and spun so that it was really the numbskull fans who were the ones claiming matters were settled when there were 60 games remaining. The habit is as transparent as it is annoying, and I don't want to be one to fall into that trap.

Here’s looking at you, Tony Massarotti. And Dan Shaughnessy.

Buckley has J.D. Drew hoping he can contribute to the team the rest of the season and into the playoffs. Sarah Green reflects on Tim Wakefield’s career. Bradford also has Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell saying that video work has revealed that Eric Gagne could’ve been tipping his pitches, and that may have been the cause of his early struggles with the Red Sox. Joe Haggerty has Gagne hoping for a chance to face the Yankees in this series. Bradford also has Dustin Pedroia looking forward to facing Roger Clemens tonight.

Get the view from NYC in the New York Sports Pages. Cafardo examines Joba Chamberlain in his first appearance against the Red Sox. Dom Amore has Andy Pettitte making a strong impression last night. Amore also says that the Yankees need to work on finishing out games strong.

Silverman’s notebook has more on the back injuries for Ramirez and Kielty which will likely keep them out of tonight’s game. Edes’s notebook has more on the back injuries to the outfield duo. McAdam’s notebook says that tonight’s Josh Beckett/Roger Clemens matchup holds plenty of interest. Goldberg’s notebook has more on the Red Sox back woes. Ballou’s notebook also focuses on Manny’s back. Couture’s notebook has Manny adding another Yankee Stadium home run to his total before leaving the game.

Patriots
Dan Snapp has another edition of Direct Snapp on Patriots Daily, where he makes the case that the road to the Super Bowl is best traveled by ground, and not by air, despite all the new wide receivers in camp.

Christopher L. Gasper and Mike Reiss report that Asante Samuel did gain a concession in his contract that can prevent him from being franchised next season. Albert Breer isn’t so sure that the franchise provision was included in the final deal. Shalise Manza Young has Samuel saying that both sides are happy with the new deal. David Heuschkel has Samuel with no regrets over his holdout or new one year contract. Dan Pires says that Samuel’s holdout was fruitless. Rich Garven and Mark Farinella have more on Samuel putting the contract issue behind him and getting ready for the season.

The Globe notebook has Troy Brown landing on the PUP list to start his 15th season. Which reminds me of the horrible joke Glenn Ordway had on the big show yesterday when he wondered if the Falcons were going to place Michael Vick on the “Pup” list. Breer’s notebook has more on Brown starting the season on the sidelines. Young’s notebook has Chad and Eddie Jackson joining Brown on the PUP list. Garven’s notebook wonders if Randy Moss could be getting closer to making it out onto the field for the Patriots. Pires’ notebook has Laurence Maroney saying that the Facebook profile that has become fodder for bloggers is a fake. Farinella’s notebook has Kyle Brady trying to get to know Tom Brady a little better.

Farinella also sounds off on a number of topics in another edition of Ask Fearless.

Mike Martin on the BSMW Full Court Press offers a chill pill for the kingmakers and naysayers alike.