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Yankees surge to 6th straight

Mussina, Matsui flatten the Royals

Mike Mussina settled down after a shaky start, Hideki Matsui hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning and the Yankees won their sixth straight game with a 4-2 victory over the Kansas City Royals yesterday in New York.

The Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Royals, who have dropped four in a row and 14 of 17. They fell to 1-10 on the road.

Mussina (2-4) allowed eight hits in the first four innings as Kansas City jumped to a 2-0 lead. But he then retired 11 in a row as the Yankees came back.

"I was frustrated," Mussina said. "I thought I was pitching better than two baserunners an inning. You have to realize every inning is a new inning and every hitter is a new hitter."

Jason Giambi's fifth home run tied it, 2-2, in the fourth. His shot off Jeremy Affeldt (0-3) landed in the upper deck in right field.

In the seventh, Jorge Posada opened with a double and scored on a single by Matsui, who went to second on the throw to the plate. Matsui advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Ruben Sierra's sacrifice fly.

Mussina went seven innings -- and did not give up a hit after the fourth. Tom Gordon worked a scoreless eighth, and Mariano Rivera got three outs for his ninth save in nine chances. He retired three straight batters with two on to end it.

Matsui scored the Yankees' first run in the third when he led off with a double, advanced on a deep fly and scored on Miguel Cairo's sacrifice fly.

Affeldt allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Devil Rays 8, A's 2 -- Rocco Baldelli hit a two-run homer and Mark Hendrickson pitched six solid innings helping Tampa Bay snap a six-game losing streak with a victory over Oakland in St. Petersburg, Fla. Baldelli connected against Tim Hudson, making it 4-1 with a two-run shot in the third. Baldelli has hit two of his three homers in the past three games.

Hendrickson (1-2) allowed two runs and six hits. His victory snapped a stretch of 20 consecutive winless starts by Tampa lefthanders dating to Joe Kennedy's win against Toronto last May 13.

Hudson (3-1) allowed eight runs and nine hits in seven innings. He entered 5-0 in eight starts against Tampa Bay.

White Sox 3, Blue Jays 2 -- Jon Garland gave up two runs in seven-plus innings, and Frank Thomas homered in host Chicago's victory over Toronto. Garland (2-1) scattered 10 hits, struck out five, and got out of trouble in the seventh inning.

After giving up back-to-back singles to Gregg Zaun and Chris Gomez with no outs, Garland got Howie Clark to pop out. Then, Frank Catalanotto hit a shallow fly to Carlos Lee, who made the catch, threw home and got Zaun.

Billy Koch pitched the ninth for his third save in four opportunities for Chicago, which took three of the four games in the series.

Thomas homered on a 2-1 pitch off Blue Jays starter Miguel Batista (0-3) in the fourth, giving the White Sox a 3-1 lead. It was his fifth homer of the season.

Batista allowed just three runs on six hits in eight innings. His last win came Sept. 13, 2003.

Mariners 12, Tigers 2 -- Gil Meche pitched six solid innings, and Scott Spiezio and Brett Boone homered in Seattle's rout in Detroit. John Olerud was 2 for 3 with three RBIs for Seattle, which set a season high for runs on 14 hits.

Meche (1-2) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, and struck out four and walked three. He allowed only Craig Monroe's third-inning single during the first four innings, and Monroe was erased when he was caught stealing.

The Mariners took a quick lead against Nate Cornejo (1-3) by scoring twice in the first inning.

Angels 3, Twins 1 -- At Minneapolis, John Lackey pitched seven strong innings and Jose Guillen's tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth propelled Anaheim past Minnesota. Troy Percival retired Henry Blanco on a routine fly with the bases loaded to end it. Chone Figgins tripled and scored in the first inning for the surging Angels, who have won eight of 10. Their 11-5 road record is the best in the major leagues.

Michael Cuddyer homered for Minnesota, its only run in the last two games. . . .
The final game of a three-game series between the Baltimore Orioles and Indians was postponed because of rain in Cleveland. No makeup date was scheduled.

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