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Matthews, Angels rush by Yankees

AL West leaders' fast start sinks NY

The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez takes a walk -- after plate umpire Jeff Nelson calls him out on strikes in the sixth inning. (ED BETZ/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Once again, the hits came in a hurry for the Los Angeles Angels.

Gary Matthews Jr. lined a two-run triple that gave the Angels another quick lead and Kelvim Escobar made it stand up, beating the Yankees, 3-1, yesterday in New York.

The AL West leaders took a familiar route, rushing to a 3-0 edge off Chien-Ming Wang before Escobar threw a pitch. They've now outscored opponents by an impressive 52-19 in first innings this season.

"You get your 1-2 guys on base, it's a recipe for a treacherous first inning," Matthews said.

Los Angeles won for the eighth time in 10 games and did it without manager Mike Scioscia, who was back in California for his son's high school graduation. Bench coach Ron Roenicke ran the team, and will do it again today when the Angels go for the sweep.

The quick burst made it an easier afternoon for Roenicke.

"I can look at things a little differently," he said. "I can be more aggressive."

The Yankees lost for the sixth time in nine games.

"As soon as you put this uniform on, there's pressure. I don't understand what more pressure is," manager Joe Torre said. "We certainly haven't played up to our expectations, and we're all accountable."

New York fans were restless from the get-go, and started booing after Matthews tripled and Casey Kotchman followed with an RBI single. Pitching coach Ron Guidry went to the mound at that point and Wang (3-4) settled down, but it was too late.

"I wasn't thinking about the lead, I was staying with the game plan," Escobar said. "It definitely helps, though, with the lineup they have."

Indians 6, Tigers 3 -- David Dellucci's tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning lifted visiting Cleveland over Detroit.

Victor Martinez also hit a two-run home run and C.C. Sabathia tied the league lead with his seventh victory to help the Indians grab a 1 1/2-game lead in the AL Central.

Orioles 8, Athletics 3 -- Brian Roberts had three hits and three RBIs, Miguel Tejada had three hits and a homer, and host Baltimore cruised past Oakland.

Brian Burres (2-2) allowed one run and three hits in six innings.

Mariners 9, Royals 1 -- Kenji Johjima hit his first major league grand slam, Richie Sexson added a three-run shot, and Cha Seung Baek struck out seven in seven-plus innings to lead visiting Seattle past Kansas City.

Blue Jays 9, Twins 8 -- Lyle Overbay drove in four runs, including a two-out single in the top of the 13th inning that gave Toronto the victory over Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Diamondbacks 5, Astros 4 -- Brandon Webb limited visiting Houston to two runs through seven innings and Arizona held on to hand the Astros their seventh loss in a row.

Rockies 6, Giants 1 -- Aaron Cook pitched a five-hitter to win his fourth straight decision, Willy Taveras had a pair of bunt singles, and Matt Holliday hit a two-run single and had three RBIs as visiting Colorado defeated San Francisco for its fourth consecutive victory.

Padres 6, Brewers 3 -- Mike Cameron hit a two-run homer and Jose Cruz Jr. had a solo shot to carry Justin Germano and host San Diego over Milwaukee.

Cardinals 8, Nationals 6 -- Jim Edmonds had two hits and three RBIs, helping host St. Louis end Washington's four-game winning streak after a 1-hour-41-minute rain delay in the ninth inning.

Phillies 6, Braves 4 -- Chase Utley drove in three runs and Shane Victorino had three hits, giving visiting Philadelphia (25-24) a winning record for the first time this season.

Cubs 4, Dodgers 2 -- Aramis Ramirez and Mark DeRosa hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning and reliever Will Ohman struck out pinch hitter Jeff Kent with the bases loaded in the eighth to help preserve visiting Chicago's victory.

Pirates 9, Reds 5 -- Xavier Nady hit a three-run homer during a disastrous first inning by righthander Bronson Arroyo to lead visiting Pittsburgh.

Mets 7, Marlins 2 -- Carlos Delgado ended a long drought with two home runs and five RBIs, giving John Maine plenty of support in New York's win in Florida.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays' game against the Chicago White Sox was rained out and rescheduled for Aug. 27 at US Cellular Field.