White Sox 2, Yankees 1

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NEW YORK (AP)—Jose Contreras wriggled out of a couple jams at Yankee Stadium. One fan apparently put himself in much more serious danger and was fortunate to survive.

Contreras pitched shutout ball against his former team, and the Chicago White Sox got home runs from Paul Konerko and Tadahito Iguchi in a 2-1 victory Tuesday night over the New York Yankees.

The game was delayed for four minutes in the eighth inning after 18-year-old Scott Harper of Armonk, N.Y., plummeted about 40 feet from the upper deck onto the large net behind home plate.

“That was the only exciting thing that happened today,” Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said.

After the final out, Harper was carried from the ballpark on a stretcher, his head immobilized in a neck brace, and taken to Lincoln Medical Center, where he was in stable condition early Wednesday, hospital spokeswoman Jill Brooker said.

Harper told three friends he was sitting with that he was going to test whether the net would hold his weight—and then he jumped, police said.

Obviously shaken after he landed, Harper sat with his head in his hands for a few moments before climbing on the net back up to the loge level as players watched and the crowd roared. He was hoisted over the railing and led away by security.

Det. Kevin Czartoryski said Harper was arrested and police expect to charge him with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I think that’s New York, you know, anything can happen.”

It was the second time in five years a fan fell or jumped from the upper deck at Yankee Stadium. In May 2000, 24-year-old Stephen Laurenzi of Yonkers, N.Y., was unconscious for a short time while sprawled on the netting as a game between Boston and New York went on. He also was arrested and taken to a hospital for observation.

In 1997 and 1998, there was only a high backstop behind the plate and no netting extending to the stands.

After Harper was pulled off the net by security, Cliff Politte retired Robinson Cano and Gary Sheffield with a runner on second to end the eighth.

Konerko hit his 28th homer leading off the ninth against Alan Embree, leaving Steinbrenner upset with Joe Torre .

“I’m not pleased with the manager,” Steinbrenner said. “I don’t know why they kept the left-hander in there. … He should never have pitched to Konerko. Konerko’s their best hitter.”

Alex Rodriguez hit his AL-leading 33rd homer and third in three days leading off the bottom half against Politte. Bernie Williams, who missed the previous two games with a sore right shoulder, came off the bench for the Yankees with runners at the corners in the ninth. He was 5-for-6 against Chicago closer Dustin Hermanson before lining out to first to end the game.

Hermanson threw only one pitch for his 29th save in 30 chances.

The White Sox, who have the best record in baseball, rebounded nicely one night after the Yankees beat another ex-teammate, Orlando Hernandez.

Contreras (7-6) allowed only a first-inning single to Cano, a leadoff single to Rodriguez in the fourth and a leadoff single to Tony Womack in the eighth. The big right-hander struck out six and walked two in seven-plus innings, outpitching Shawn Chacon.

“I think it’s my best outing in a major league uniform,” Contreras said.

The Yankees signed Contreras to a $32 million, four-year contract after he defected from Cuba in October 2002, but he struggled badly against the rival Red Sox and was inconsistent throughout his season and a half in New York.

He was dealt to Chicago for Esteban Loaiza at the trade deadline last year.

“You always know that the Yankees’ future is right this minute, and that was just an example of that,” Torre said.

The Yankees got another excellent outing from Chacon (0-1), the hard-luck loser. He gave up only Iguchi’s fourth-inning homer and two singles in seven innings, lowering his ERA to 1.42 in three starts with New York since he was acquired from Colorado.

“That’s a tough loss,” Chacon said.

Chacon retired nine straight batters before Iguchi lofted a 1-1 pitch over the short porch in right field.

Contreras got in trouble in the bottom half, but struck out Jason Giambi with Rodriguez on third for the second out. Jorge Posada then hit a sharp grounder that appeared headed up the middle for an RBI single, but it deflected off Contreras to Konerko at first base, and he tagged Posada to end the inning.

Contreras also retired Hideki Matsui with two on to end the first and a runner at second to end the sixth.

“His arm angle was a little different. I think he threw a little more sidearm than when he was with us,” Derek Jeter said. “I think it caused his fastball to move more.”


Both benches were warned after Contreras plunked Rodriguez with first base open in the first inning. … LHP Randy Johnson will miss his next turn in the rotation because of a bad back, leaving the Yankees unsure who will start Thursday night against Texas. It probably will be RHP Scott Proctor if he’s not needed Wednesday against Chicago.

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