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Sheffield, Matsui boost Yankees

Late homers cap another comeback

Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui hit consecutive homers in the ninth inning, and the New York Yankees took advantage of 14 walks in a 9-7 comeback victory over the Orioles yesterday in Baltimore.

New York trailed, 6-2, in the fifth before rallying for its seventh win in eight games. The Yankees took two of three from the Orioles to capture the season series 14-5 and move a season-high 37 games over .500 (90-53). New York increased its lead in the East to 3 1/2 games over the Red Sox.

"It was an ugly baseball game," Sheffield said, "but those are the kind of games you want to win because it lifts your ball club and it takes the wind out of the other club."

It was the club-record ninth time this season that New York rallied from a deficit of four runs or more. The Yankees, who did not have a comeback of that nature all last year, won despite stranding 17 runners and going 0 for 5 with the bases loaded. New York had not received as many as 14 walks in a game since 1980.

With the score 7-7, Sheffield hit his 34th home run of the season leading off the ninth against Jorge Julio (2-5). Four pitches later, Matsui sent a drive far over the center-field wall. Tom Gordon (7-4) got four outs and Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his major-league leading 48th save in 51 chances.

Larry Bigbie went 4 for 4 and David Newhan had three RBIs for the Orioles, who used 10 pitchers, a major league record for a nine-inning game.

Angels 11, White Sox 0 -- Bartolo Colon pitched seven sharp innings, Garret Anderson drove in three runs, and the Angels hammered Chicago at Anaheim, Calif. Coming off a 13-6 loss Saturday, the Angels staked Colon (15-11) to a 7-0 lead by the third and took two of three from Chicago.

Colon allowed six hits, struck out six and walked one. Kevin Gregg and Scott Dunn each pitched a perfect inning to finish Anaheim's 10th shutout.

Colon, who pitched for the White Sox before signing with the Angels last offseason, has won 10 of his last 13 decisions.

The Angels jumped on Jose Contreras (12-9) for seven runs and 10 hits in three innings.

A's 1, Indians 0 -- Barry Zito struck out 10 for the first time in more than a year and Erubiel Durazo hit his career-high 22d home run, leading host Oakland. Zito (11-10) had not reached double digits in strikeouts since fanning 10 at Minnesota May 27, 2003. He had struck out nine twice this season.

After the A's rallied to win, 5-4, Saturday on consecutive eighth-inning home runs by rookies Bobby Crosby and Nick Swisher, Zito gave Oakland one of his best performances this year, allowing four hits in seven scoreless innings. His 125 pitches were his second most ever -- he threw 128 at Cleveland on Aug. 21, 2000.

The A's maintained their two-game AL West lead over Anaheim. Oakland plays its final 20 games against the division, starting tonight with the opener of a four-game series against Texas.

Rangers 7, Blue Jays 6 -- Mark Teixeira homered twice, including a two-run shot in the eighth, as host Texas completed a three-game sweep of Toronto. Chan Ho Park and the Rangers couldn't hold the lead after Teixeira's three-run homer in the first. But Francisco Cordero made Teixeira's second shot stand up, striking out three batters in the ninth for his team-record 44th save.

Twins 8, Tigers 5 -- At Detroit, Terry Tiffee, Torii Hunter, and Cristian Guzman homered as Minnesota (82-60) won its fifth straight and improved to a season-best 22 games over .500. Detroit (64-77) dropped a season-low 13 games under .500 and needs 17 wins in its last 21 games to avoid an 11th straight losing season.

Devil Rays 7, Royals 2 -- Jorge Sosa allowed five hits in seven shutout innings to win for the first time since July 31, leading Tampa Bay at Kansas City, Mo. Rocco Baldelli hit a two-run single, and Julio Lugo, Tino Martinez and Jose Cruz each had three hits for the Devil Rays, who had 15 hits and won their second straight following a 12-game losing streak. Tampa Bay also ended an 11-game streak of games with errors, a team record.

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