Baltimore at New York

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Baltimore0300012129181
N.Y. Yankees «45001002x12161

Small improves to 9-0 as Yankees hang on against Orioles

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Gary Sheffield is not about to let his injured leg get in the way of the Yankees' drive for a playoff spot.

Sheffield hit a grand slam and drove in six runs, Jorge Posada added a three-run homer and New York kept the pressure on in a pair of playoff races Tuesday night with a 12-9 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yankees (87-63) have won eight of nine and climbed 24 games above .500 for the first time this season. New York remained a half-game behind first-place Boston in the AL East and moved within a half-game of Cleveland in the wild-card race.

"This team is resilient," Sheffield said. "We don't quit. Now we're starting to come into our own."

A strained thigh muscle forced Sheffield to miss four games and has kept him from playing the outfield since his return, but he was strong enough to lead the Yankees to a win on a night that unbeaten Aaron Small was not sharp.

"The thing about Sheff is, even if he's not 100 percent he's still intimidating," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "You just feel he's going to find a way to get it done."

Small (9-0) allowed four runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings, the shortest of his eight starts this season. Benefiting from an offense that has scored 36 runs in his last four starts, he became the first pitcher to win his first nine decisions for the Yankees since Tommy John in 1979.

"Every game is so magnified and so crucial right now," Small said. "It doesn't matter how you get it done as long as you win. They don't have to be pretty as long as you get them done."

But the win did not come easily. The Orioles got 18 hits, put at least one runner on in every inning and forced the Yankees to use closer Mariano Rivera in a non-save situation.

"It was tough," Torre said. "Normally when you don't get a 1-2-3 inning you don't come away with a victory."

Alex Rodriguez hit his 45th homer, an opposite-field solo shot into the upper deck in right, and Sheffield added an RBI single in the eighth after the Orioles closed within three runs.

Baltimore rookie John Maine (2-2) didn't get an out in the second inning, and All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts also left in the second after his left elbow was dislocated in a collision with Bubba Crosby while covering first base on a bunt.

Sheffield's RBI double and Posada's 17th homer gave New York a 4-0 lead in the first, but Roberts delivered a two-run triple during a three-run second. The Yankees answered right back by batting around in the bottom half.

Bernie Williams singled leading off and was balked to second. First baseman B.J. Surhoff rushed in to field Crosby's bunt and his throw to Roberts arrived at about the same time Crosby did.

Crosby crashed into Roberts' outstretched left arm, snapping it back. Roberts dropped the ball and went to the ground in tremendous pain, allowing Williams to jog home from third.

Interim manager Sam Perlozzo was ejected by plate umpire Sam Holbrook, perhaps for arguing that Crosby ran inside the baseline, and missed his team's sloppy play that helped New York score four more in the inning.

"I really wasn't arguing in the first place," Perlozzo said. "I was asking whether the runner was in the baseline. I was upset that my player was in so much pain. End of story."

Derek Jeter bounced back to the mound, but instead of possibly starting a double play, Maine fumbled the ball for an error that put runners at first and second.

"That's embarrassing," Maine said. "It's just a comebacker and I messed it up."

James Baldwin relieved and got Rodriguez to fly out. Jason Giambi hit a high pop into short left field that shortstop Miguel Tejada called for but couldn't come up with, and Sheffield followed with his 10th career slam, and first since May 17, 2003, with Atlanta.

Sheffield hadn't had an extra-base hit since a home run in Seattle on Aug. 31, but didn't blame his injury.

"I always feel like I can play through anything," he said.

Maine allowed seven runs, six earned, and six hits.

Jay Gibbons hit a two-run homer, his 23rd, in the seventh, but the Orioles lost for the 20th time in 30 games.

Notes

  • The Yankees have six grand slams this season.
  • Perlozzo said he plans to speak with Rafael Palmeiro soon to see what the first baseman's plans are for the rest of the season. Palmeiro fell into a deep slump after returning from his suspension for a positive steroids test and was sent home to Texas to rest knee and ankle injuries earlier this month.
 
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Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Bubba Crosby all score on Sheffield's homer.  (Getty Images)
Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Bubba Crosby all score on Sheffield's homer. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
New York

G. Sheffield
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 6
Baltimore

L. Matos
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
 

Related Video

Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B2012000 .314
    Chris Gomez, 2B4000004 .277
Bernie Castro, DH4021102 .303
Melvin Mora, 3B4110112 .280
Miguel Tejada, SS5010024 .309
Jay Gibbons, RF5232001 .269
B.J. Surhoff, 1B5131002 .275
Javy Lopez, C5220004 .286
David Newhan, LF5121001 .211
Luis Matos, CF3232000 .289
Totals4291892320 
Batting
2B - Bernie Castro (2, Gordon), Jay Gibbons (28, Embree), Javy Lopez (20, Small), David Newhan (7, Small), Luis Matos (16, M. Rivera)
3B - Brian Roberts (7, Small)
HR - Jay Gibbons (23, Proctor)
SF - Luis Matos (4)
RBI - Brian Roberts 2 (73), Bernie Castro (4), Jay Gibbons 2 (66), B.J. Surhoff (31), David Newhan (21), Luis Matos 2 (29)
2-OUT RBI - Brian Roberts 2 (28), David Newhan (11), Luis Matos (11)
CS - Bernie Castro (1, 2nd base by Small/Posada)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - John Maine (1, misplayed grounder)
Baltimore Orioles
John Maine (L,2-2) 1676021 4.76
James Baldwin 3.2633121 3.71
Jason Grimsley 0.2100000 7.13
Steve Kline 1.2000020 4.50
Jorge Julio 1322011 6.08
Pitches-Strikes - John Maine 34-22, James Baldwin 87-59, Jason Grimsley 13-10, Steve Kline 19-12, Jorge Julio 34-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Maine 2-0, James Baldwin 1-8, Steve Kline 2-1, Jorge Julio 1-1
Batters Faced - John Maine 10, James Baldwin 18, Jason Grimsley 3, Steve Kline 5, Jorge Julio 6
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS5220000 .307
Alex Rodriguez, 3B5131002 .320
Jason Giambi, 1B4110025 .278
    Tino Martinez, 1B1110000 .243
Gary Sheffield, DH5236001 .297
    Tony Womack, PR-DH0000000 .246
Hideki Matsui, LF4110111 .298
Jorge Posada, C5113022 .261
Robinson Cano, 2B4110011 .293
Bernie Williams, CF4121000 .256
Bubba Crosby, RF4110011 .276
Totals411216111713 
Batting
2B - Tino Martinez (8, Julio), Gary Sheffield (27, Maine), Robinson Cano (33, Baldwin)
HR - Alex Rodriguez (45, Julio), Gary Sheffield (29, Baldwin), Jorge Posada (17, Maine)
RBI - Alex Rodriguez (120), Gary Sheffield 6 (109), Jorge Posada 3 (65), Bernie Williams (64)
2-OUT RBI - Gary Sheffield (27), Jorge Posada 3 (10)
SB - Derek Jeter (14, 3rd base off Maine/Lopez)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Cano-Jeter-Giambi
E - Robinson Cano (16, wild throw)
New York Yankees
Aaron Small (W,9-0) 51044220 3.59
Scott Proctor 2322001 5.26
Tom Gordon 1211010 2.48
Alan Embree0222000 7.43
Mariano Rivera 1100000 1.34
HBP - Matos (by Aaron Small)
WP - Scott Proctor (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Small 102-66, Scott Proctor 21-17, Tom Gordon 19-13, Alan Embree 8-5, Mariano Rivera 8-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Small 5-6, Scott Proctor 1-5, Mariano Rivera 1-2
Batters Faced - Aaron Small 26, Scott Proctor 9, Tom Gordon 5, Alan Embree 2, Mariano Rivera 4
Game Information
Attendance - 46982
Game Time - 3:41
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Sam Holbrook, First Base - Larry Vanover, Second Base - Randy Marsh, Third Base - Jim Wolf