Sox-Yankees rivalry always entertaining

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You’re bound to see a few crazy things in New York City, and this week’s visit by the Red Sox was a case in point.

In three strange days, the Sox took two of three against the Yankees and came back to rainy Boston with the AL East in tow. After splitting a pair of one-sided affairs, the Sox edged the Yankees in a typical Boston/New York thriller on Thursday.

The Sox sent Randy Johnson to an early shower – and a shower of boos from the hometown fans – after bashing seven runs in three-plus innings Tuesday night. Alex Rodriguez incurred the wrath of those fans with two errors … making it seven errors for A-Rod as a Yankee against Boston (in a total of 50 games.)

George Steinbrenner even had his annual outburst, singling out “the third baseman” as a source of the owner’s agitation.

On Wednesday, A-Rod – an MVP against the rest of baseball – stepped up and tried to re-earn The Boss’ respect with a crucial two-out home run off Curt Schilling in the fifth inning.

At least the owner should now remember the third baseman’s name.

You want crazy? How’s this for three days:

• On New York tabloid called for the Yankees to “Drop Papi” before the series began. David Ortiz was none too pleased to see a newspaper telling New York pitchers to drill the designated hitter.

• A day later, those same papers called Randy “Big Unit” Johnson “The Big Ugly.” Frankly, that was hitting a little too close to home.

• Gentleman Bernie Williams was tossed from Tuesday’s game, and tossed his batting helmet in disgust.

• Wily Mo Pena, always an adventure in the outfield, played all three outfield positions in the same game. He’s believed to be the first modern Red Sox player to do that.

• One team took a 2-0 lead after the first inning of each game, and then lost that game.

• Hideki Matsui broke his wrist in the first inning Thursday, snapping his consecutive games streak at 518 in the process. Matsui was playing in his 519th consecutive game, but doesn’t get credit for that game because of Rule 10.24 (c), which states “a consecutive game playing streak shall be extended if the player plays one half inning on defense, or if he completes a time at bat by reaching base or being put out.”

Of course, Matsui and the Yankees are much more concerned about the streak of games he will now miss. He could be gone for a long, long time.

What a three-day stretch of baseball. Jack Bauer would have trouble packing this much excitement into 72 hours.

The Sox and Yankees will meet again at Fenway one week from tomorrow. It’ll be another heart-racing stretch of baseball. This rivalry has somehow gotten better and more intense each of the past three seasons, and nothing indicates that this trend is changing in 2006.

Lewiston native Tom Caron covers the Red Sox for NESN.

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