The Red Sox seem to regard the first inning with the discomfort of Alec Baldwin at a photographers' luncheon. They stumble to get out of there without creating havoc. Yet for a moment yesterday at Fenway Park, it looked as though the Yankees would be the team looking back regrettably upon the opening frame.

When Boston starter Franklin Morales hit Robinson Cano with a two-seam fastball to the right pinkie in the first inning of Game 1, Cano shook his nicked hand in pain and slowly made his way down to first base. Yankees manager Joe Girardi and head trainer Steve Donohue bolted onto the field upon seeing Cano in pain, and the Yankees held their collective breath.

"A little bit, yeah," was how Girardi, following the Yankees' doubleheader-opening 6-1 victory over the Red Sox, described his concern as soon as he witnessed Cano's reaction.

Like most Cano health concerns, it turned out to be a false alarm. Cano stayed in the game, Nick Swisher slammed a three-run homer and the Yankees were en route to their fourth straight victory this season over their diminished rival. And to assuage any doubts, Cano crushed a ground-rule double into the Fenway triangle in right-center field, the ball bouncing on the warning track, hitting the wall then ricocheting into the stands.

The Yankees played an absolutely brutal Game 2, committing four errors in a 9-5 loss to the Red Sox for Boston's first Rivalry victory of the season after four Yankees triumphs. Yet they could shrug off that debacle. They wouldn't have been able to shrug off a Cano injury.