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Crash gives clash a football feel

Crash gives clash a football feel

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BOSTON -- When Eric Hinske crashed into Jorge Posada in the sixth inning Saturday, Johnny Damon couldn't help but think of his beloved foootball team.

"It is College Football Saturday and the [Florida] Gators won again and hopefully they continue that," said Damon of Florida's 59-20 rout of SEC rival Tennessee.

Unfortunately for Damon and the Yankees, it was the Red Sox who won the baseball game that, at times, resembled football at Fenway Park.

The best example came in Boston's three-run sixth, when Robinson Cano threw home to Posada, who was waiting to tag Hinske, who tried unsuccessfully to jar the ball loose.

"He's taken those hits before and that's what's expected, especially with a bunch of close plays at the plate," Damon said.

Another football fan who was paying close attention to the Hinske-Posada crash was Red Sox starter and winner Josh Beckett.

"I don't think anybody on their side thought that was dirty or anything," said Beckett who was matched up against Chien-Ming Wang. "You are trying to scratch across another run against a really good pitcher. I think everybody that watched the game knows that was a clean deal and that's how everybody probably would have played that."

Hinske, who at 6-feet-2 and 235 pounds is built like a linebacker, barreled into Posada, snapping Posada's head back.

"Everyone knows that when we're playing the Yankees, it's a lot more intense than when you're playing anyone else," Hinske said. "So when you come to the yard, you better be ready to play, and if you're not, the fans will let you know it right away.

"If you can't get up for a Red Sox-Yankee game, you've got something wrong with you. The electricity in the stadium, just the way everything goes, it's awesome to be a part of and it was fun to be out on the field today."

"I don't think anybody is ever going to question Eric Hinske on how he plays the game," Beckett added. "I saw it against him for most of the last year. He plays the game right. Obviously, you don't want anybody to get hurt in a collision like that, but that's the play right there."

Posada, meanwhile, stayed in the game but was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for precautionary tests afterward. CT scans on his head and neck were negative.

"Jorge is a little beat up," Yankees skipper Joe Torre said. "He's got a headache pretty good and it rung his bell pretty well.

"He was getting progressively worse with the headache. I have a feeling that it was connected with the score. Score was getting worse and his headache was getting worse. But we anticipate he will be fine. But he started to [feel] the effects of that collision."

Torre, a longtime catcher, knows taking hard knocks is something that comes with the territory.

"They've got a guy over there that's not too bad either," Torre said, referring to Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. "That's what catchers do and Jorge's been a big leader for us. Jorge's come a long way in a lot of areas over the last 10 years. That certainly is one area where he doesn't shy away."

And certainly Posada didn't. But then again, he had no choice.

"He'll be all right," Derek Jeter said. "He's got a hard head."

Mike Petraglia is contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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