|N.Y. Yankees «||0||1||5||4||0||2||0||0||x||12||17||1|
Giambi hit one of four Yankees homers and doubled twice, and Johnson gave New York seven clutch innings in a 12-3 victory Tuesday over the sinking Baltimore Orioles.
"Today was just one of those magical days where everyone was swinging the bat well," Rodriguez said.
"We're lucky," New York manager Joe Torre said. "We understand if you're hovering around the .500 mark in some other division, that doesn't bode well for you."
With their pitchers struggling, the Orioles have lost 11 of 13.
"I think the last few weeks, we've given everything we have. We're just coming out on the wrong side of it," manager Lee Mazzilli said.
Starting on three days' rest in the regular season for the first time in 10 years, Johnson (8-6) bounced back from an awful performance in Detroit last Friday, when he was roughed up for seven runs and nine hits in five innings.
But he threw only 80 pitches in that one, and was eager to get back on the mound.
Good thing for the injury-riddled Yankees, who used five pitchers in a 13-8 win Monday, including a spot start by reliever Tanyon Sturtze -- so they needed a lengthy outing.
The Big Unit delivered, retiring his first 12 batters with five strikeouts before Miguel Tejada's infield single. He threw 92 pitches and fanned eight without walking a batter for his 254th win.
"His pitch count early was terrific and I think that was a big reason he was able to last seven innings," Torre said. "He looked a little relaxed and yet very focused."
Johnson gave up seven hits, including a two-run homer by Chris Gomez -- his first this year. The left-hander improved to 5-1 in regular-season starts on three days' rest. His last was Oct. 2, 1995, for Seattle against the Angels, when he pitched the Mariners to the AL West title.
"He was pretty sharp -- with a 10-run lead," Mazzilli said.
The Big Unit even tossed an accidental blooper pitch to Sal Fasano in the third, drawing cheers from the crowd of 55,276 as a sheepish Johnson broke into a smile on the mound.
"The eephus pitch? That was my fault," catcher John Flaherty said. "I gave him a fastball and I didn't know which side of the plate he wanted to throw to."
Also pitching on three days' rest while the Orioles use a four-man rotation until the All-Star break, Rodrigo Lopez (7-5) was ineffective -- and his defense was just as bad.
He gave up a career-high 10 runs, five earned, and a season-high 11 hits in three-plus innings, dropping his third straight start.
"I made a lot of bad pitches and wrong decisions," Lopez said.
Coming off his first multihomer game in two years, Giambi connected for his eighth of the season leading off the second inning. He got a standing ovation when he departed for a pinch-runner after his second double in the sixth.
"He's been killed by everyone," Rodriguez said. "To see him still fighting and persevering, he's very easy to cheer for."
Jeter opened the third with a single, and Gomez booted Robinson Cano's potential double-play grounder to first, leaving runners at the corners.
Jeter then got caught in a rundown on a bouncer to third, but third baseman Melvin Mora dropped a return throw from Fasano for his second error of the game, allowing Jeter to score.
"We didn't do a good job with our defense," Fasano said. "Making three errors in the first two innings kind of put him in a hole."
Matsui hit an RBI single, Giambi had a run-scoring double and Sierra grounded a two-run single through a drawn-in infield, making it 6-0.
Jeter started the fourth with his third single, Cano doubled and Sheffield hit a three-run shot for his 430th homer, tying Jim Thome for 34th on the career list.
Rodriguez followed with his 21st home run this season for a 10-0 lead, chasing Lopez. Including a seven-run eighth on Monday, the Yankees scored 17 runs in a five-inning span.
Matsui added a two-run drive off James Baldwin in the sixth.
|On three days' rest, Randy Johnson allows two runs, seven hits and strikes out eight in seven innings. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Brian Roberts, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||4||1||.354|
|Chris Gomez, 1B||4||1||1||2||0||0||0||.285|
|Melvin Mora, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.297|
|David Newhan, 3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.198|
|Miguel Tejada, SS||4||1||3||0||0||0||0||.324|
|Sammy Sosa, DH||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.229|
|Eli Marrero, RF||3||0||0||1||0||2||3||.180|
|Luis Matos, CF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.285|
|Larry Bigbie, LF||4||0||0||0||0||2||4||.256|
|Sal Fasano, C||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||.258|
|Eli Whiteside, C||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|2B - Miguel Tejada (26, R. Johnson), Sammy Sosa (11, Groom)|
|HR - Chris Gomez (1, R. Johnson)|
|SF - Eli Marrero (4)|
|RBI - Chris Gomez 2 (14), Eli Marrero (17)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Mora-B. Roberts-Gomez, Reed-Tejada-Gomez|
|E - Chris Gomez (3, misplayed grounder), Melvin Mora 2 (6, misplayed grounder)|
|Rodrigo Lopez (L,7-5)||3||11||10||5||0||4||3||4.72|
|Pitches-Strikes - Rodrigo Lopez 58-45, Steve Reed 27-20, James Baldwin 33-23, Steve Kline 25-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rodrigo Lopez 5-2, Steve Reed 4-1, James Baldwin 2-2, Steve Kline 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Rodrigo Lopez 22, Steve Reed 7, James Baldwin 10, Steve Kline 5|
|New York Yankees|
|Derek Jeter, SS||5||2||3||0||0||1||0||.308|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||5||1||1||0||0||0||1||.289|
|Gary Sheffield, RF||4||3||2||3||0||0||0||.300|
|Bubba Crosby, RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.235|
|Alex Rodriguez, 3B||4||2||1||1||0||1||5||.318|
|Russ Johnson, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.235|
|Hideki Matsui, LF||4||2||3||3||1||0||2||.317|
|Jason Giambi, 1B||4||2||3||2||0||0||1||.268|
|Tino Martinez, PR-1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.221|
|Ruben Sierra, DH||4||0||3||2||1||1||1||.261|
|Tony Womack, CF||5||0||1||0||0||3||5||.243|
|John Flaherty, C||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||.172|
|2B - Robinson Cano (15, Lopez), Jason Giambi 2 (8, Lopez, Baldwin)|
|HR - Gary Sheffield (15, Lopez), Alex Rodriguez (21, Lopez), Hideki Matsui (13, Baldwin), Jason Giambi (8, Lopez)|
|RBI - Gary Sheffield 3 (64), Alex Rodriguez (68), Hideki Matsui 3 (65), Jason Giambi 2 (27), Ruben Sierra 2 (19)|
|SB - Derek Jeter (10, 3rd base off Lopez/Fasano), Gary Sheffield (7, 2nd base off Lopez/Fasano)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Rodriguez-Cano-T. Martinez|
|E - Derek Jeter (10, wild throw)|
|New York Yankees|
|Randy Johnson (W,8-6)||7||7||2||2||0||8||1||4.14|
|Pitches-Strikes - Randy Johnson 92-69, Buddy Groom 34-21|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Johnson 3-9, Buddy Groom 2-3|
|Batters Faced - Randy Johnson 27, Buddy Groom 8|
|Attendance - 55276|
|Game Time - 2:38|
|Temperature - 83|
|Umpires - Home - Tim Timmons, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Tim McClelland, Third Base - Adam Dowdy|