And it was all there — right there! — in the seventh inning, all wrapped up like a neat stack of meat sticks and ready for us to pounce. Bases loaded and nobody out and Coco, Youk and Papi coming up? Man, that’s when you just pick up the phone, call your frail Aunt Nettie in Cleveland and shout, “How you like us now, beeyatch!” You know what’s coming and you almost feel bad for The Eric Wedge Players because you can actually feel their pain.

And then Coco fouls out. And if there’s one thing you don’t want to do with the bases loaded and nobody out — besides, y’know, get teabagged by Jim Belushi — it’s foul out. But that’s what he did. And the tone, as it turns out, was set with this at-bat.

Then Youk strikes out… and there’s one thing I’ve noticed about Youk: when he strikes out, he doesn’t merely strike out. He goes balls-out, hellfire and dragons, Alec-Baldwin-screaming-at-the-beginning-of-Glengarry Glen Ross crazy, swinging that bat like he’s trying to hurl a two ton sack of beers up to the second floor of a sorority house. It was painful and fascinating to watch. But it was still an out.

That left Papi, and after an epic 9-pitch at bat, including a drive down toward Pesky’s Pole that left half the east coast in convulsions of whatcouldabeen, he lined out to third base. Over and out.

I know you can’t win them all, but man, I wanted that one. I wanted us to sweep away the team that’s closest to unseating us for best record in the AL. I wanted Grady Sizemore to leave in tears, to be overheard talking to his mother on the clubhouse phone, wondering aloud if he should have taken his uncle’s advice and become a commodities broker. I wanted a big, fourteen-and-a-half game lead on the Yanks before they rolled into town.

But, as I said, you can’t win them all. So we’ll look to Friday night, and the chance to put Joe Torre and/or Brian Cashman out of a job.

Meanwhile… know a kid with a chewing tobacco problem? Call Roger Clemens.