Sunday, August 06, 2006
Yanks Extend Lead with HRs
Before the Yankees boarded their charter flight Sunday night, they did some flying of a different kind during the afternoon. Four different players hit solo home runs against Rodrigo Lopez, tying a season high for the team.
Those long balls, combined with a solid outing by Jaret Wright, gave the Yankees a 6-1 win in the series finale. New York has won 10 of its last 12 games, and the Bombers extended their first place lead to two games over the Red Sox in the American League East.
A day after being limited to one hit, the Yankees' bats awoke Sunday. They collected six runs on 12 hits, scoring at least five runs for the 13th time in the last 14 games. Seven of the nine starters had a hit.
Derek Jeter homered to right-center field in the first inning, giving the Yankees an early lead. Johnny Damon added a solo shot in the third, and Melky Cabrera homered to lead off the next inning. With two outs in the fifth, Jason Giambi hit his 32nd long ball of the season to deep right-center.
Both Bobby Abreu and Giambi collected three hits. Abreu stole two bases, drove in a run and scored on a double off the right-field wall by Giambi in the third inning.
Since joining the Yankees last weekend, Abreu is 10-for-25 (.400) with one RBI and four runs scored. He's also walked twice and connected for two doubles in six games. Abreu -- who has not homered in 157 at-bats, the longest streak of his career -- said he's been working with hitting coach Don Mattingly on trying to hit the ball up the middle and to left field.
Wright turned in his second consecutive good outing, giving up one run on five hits in six innings. He has yet to pitch more than six innings in any of his 19 starts, but has won four of his last five decisions, posting a 3.86 ERA over that span. Wright has not given up a homer in his last nine starts, a career best.
The Orioles put the leadoff man on in the first four innings against Wright, including doubles to start the first and second frames. After sacrifice bunts in each of those innings, Wright avoided further damage, as the O's stranded men at third base in each of the first three innings.
Wright tied a season high by issuing four walks, but none of those batters scored. He retired the final four hitters he faced before turning the game over to the bullpen.
Wright credited catcher Sal Fasano with helping him get out of the jams throughout the afternoon, saying Fasano was thinking ahead about how he wanted to set up batters. It was the first time Wright had worked with Fasano, who was acquired from the Phillies on July 26.
Scott Proctor, who leads the AL in appearances, gave up one hit in 1 2/3 innings. Mariano Rivera came in to finish the eighth inning and pitched a flawless ninth, picking up his 28th save.
The Yankees have won six of nine against Baltimore this season, and still face the Orioles 10 more times this season. New York is 26-16 against its own division.
Posted by Steve Kenul at 9:55 PM