Orlando Hernandez didn't seem to mind the heat and humidity yesterday, working deliberately to baffle the Baltimore Orioles. A lengthy fifth inning by the Yankees offense is what ended his start in New York. Hernandez struck out nine to remain undefeated this season, and Alex Rodriguez homered while New York batted around during a four-run fifth in a 9-7 victory over Baltimore.
Hernandez left his start Tuesday at Toronto with a tight left hamstring and had thrown 104 pitches yesterday, so manager Joe Torre didn't want to risk sending him out for the sixth after a long wait in the dugout. El Duque allowed nine hits and one walk. He gave up Melvin Mora's 16th homer in the third, a two-out RBI single to Brian Roberts in the fourth, and Rafael Palmeiro's 14th homer in the fifth.
Hideki Matsui hit a two-run double and Tony Clark a two-run homer during New York's big inning as the Yankees posted their 11th win in 13 games over Baltimore this season. New York took three of four in the series to open a season-high 9 1/2-game lead over the Red Sox in the East. After Scott Proctor gave up Miguel Tejada's 21st home run and walked Palmeiro to start the ninth, Mariano Rivera got three outs for his major league-leading 38th save in 41 chances.
New York struggled against Rodrigo Lopez for the first three innings, but it was a different story in the fourth.
Derek Jeter led off with a single and Gary Sheffield walked. After Rodriguez struck out, Jorge Posada walked and Matsui followed with a double down the left-field line, tying the game, 2-2. Bernie Williams added an RBI ground out and Clark capped the inning with a towering drive to right that gave the Yankees a 5-2 lead.
Lofton led off the fifth with his third home run, and one out later Rodriguez added a two-run shot -- his 28th homer.
A's 4, Rangers 1 -- Mark Redman pitched seven solid innings in Arlington, Texas, Eric Chavez homered, and Oakland increased its West lead over slumping Texas to 1 1/2 games. Redman (8-8) gave up one run and six hits in sending Texas to its seventh loss in nine games. The Rangers lead the wild-card race by one game over the Red Sox.
White Sox 6, Tigers 4 -- Freddy Garcia pitched into the eighth, and Ben Davis and Aaron Rowand homered, helping host Chicago snap its season-high seven-game losing streak. Rowand and Paul Konerko each had three of the White Sox' 14 hits. Garcia (9-9) allowed four runs and five hits in 7 1/3 innings.
Angels 3, Mariners 2 -- Bartolo Colon (10-8) won his fifth straight start for host Anaheim, and Robb Quinlan homered and doubled home the go-ahead run.
Devil Rays 5, Blue Jays 3 -- Dewon Brazelton (4-3) gave up one run and three hits in 6 2/3 innings, and Aubrey Huff hit a two-run homer as Tampa Bay improved to 5-1 on its 13-game homestand.
Royals 8, Indians 7 -- John Buck's three-run homer capped a four-run fourth and Kansas City held off visiting Cleveland after touching Indians starter C.C. Sabathia for a season-worst seven runs.