Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, and their New York teammates caused another meltdown by Kenny Rogers against the Yankees, overcoming Alfonso Soriano's triumphant return to the Bronx.
Staked to a four-run lead, Rogers allowed five home runs, and Sheffield's second of the game propelled the Yankees over the Texas Rangers, 7-6, last night for New York's 10th win in 11 games.
Rogers, at 8-2 off to the best start of his career, resembled the struggling starter booed out of the Bronx in 1997 after two shaky seasons with the Yankees.
The victory was bittersweet for the Yankees, as they lost shortstop Derek Jeter probably until Tuesday. Jeter injured his groin Thursday while scoring from first on a Sheffield double, but he started last night. However, he left in the fourth inning, complaining of tightness in his left groin.
Bernie Williams hit a two-run homer in the third, and Enrique Wilson, Rodriguez, and Sheffield hit solo shots in the fourth. When Hideki Matsui hit another solo homer leading off the fifth, Texas manager Buck Showalter ran to the mound to take out Rogers, who left to a mix of boos and cheers.
Rogers is 0-7 with a 9.21 ERA in 11 starts against the Yankees since August 1993 after beginning his career 5-0 against them.
Former Ranger Kevin Brown (7-1) wasn't much better, falling behind, 4-0, in the third on homers by Soriano and Mark Teixeira, then failing to hold a 6-4 lead in the sixth.
Twins 3, Tigers 2 -- In Minneapolis, Torii Hunter's solo homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Minnesota the victory over Detroit. Hunter hit a 2-2 pitch from reliever Jamie Walker (0-2) over the left-center-field fence for his eighth homer of the season. Corey Koskie connected earlier for the Twins, who won for just the fourth time in 12 games.
Joe Nathan (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win. The Twins' closer hasn't had a save chance since May 26, but he's been scored upon in only one of his 24 appearances -- giving up three runs against Cleveland April 14.
Minnesota's bullpen pitched three scoreless innings, striking out six.
Blue Jays 6, Athletics 1 -- Eric Hinske hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning and a two-run double in the ninth to lead Toronto to victory in Oakland, Calif. Toronto scored five runs in the final two innings to snap the A's eight-game home winning streak. Oakland won the last five of those games in extra innings, including the previous three days.
It looked as if Oakland was on its way to another extra-inning contest before Hinske helped break the game open. With two outs in the eighth, he fouled off four two-strike pitches from Chad Bradford (3-2) before connecting for his fifth homer of the season.
Indians 9, Angels 6 -- Ronnie Belliard gave Cleveland the lead with his first homer of the season, a three-run shot in the eighth inning off Francisco Rodriguez, completing a rally from four runs down in Anaheim, Calif. Travis Hafner, who was 3 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs, greeted Rodriguez (1-1) with a leadoff single in the eighth, and Ben Broussard was hit in the foot by a pitch one out later. Belliard then drove a 2-1 pitch into the left-field bullpen.
Casey Blake added a two-run homer in the ninth against Ben Weber.
Devil Rays 8, Orioles 7 -- Julio Lugo led off the 11th inning with his fourth hit and scored on a pinch-hit single by Fred McGriff, as Tampa Bay won in Baltimore. Tino Martinez hit a three-run homer for the Devil Rays, who blew a five-run lead before rallying to force extra innings. Tampa Bay has won three straight and 11 of 15.
White Sox 4, Mariners 2 -- In Seattle, Jon Garland pitched into the eighth inning and Frank Thomas hit a go-ahead two-run homer, helping AL Central leading Chicago end a two-game losing streak. The Mariners, in last place in the West, lost their third game in a row.