BALTIMORE -- Derek Jeter keeps hitting, and the New York Yankees continue to win.
It's no coincidence.
Jeter extended his career-high hitting streak to 20 games, going 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBI to lead New York over the Baltimore Orioles 9-4 Sunday.
Jeter hit a double in the first inning and gave the Yankees a 5-0 lead with a two-run homer in the third. He added a run-scoring grounder in the fourth and a sacrifice fly in the sixth before finishing with a ninth-inning groundout.
His 20-game hitting streak is the longest by a Yankee since Bernie Williams' 21-game run in August 1993. New York is 12-8 since Jeter last went hitless.
"He's just a flat-out good player," Williams said.
Yankees leadoff hitter Johnny Damon has scored 106 runs this season, in part because he's batting ahead of Jeter in the lineup. Jeter batted third on Sunday, but he's usually in the 2-hole.
"We're putting together a nice supporting cast around him and it shows. He could very well be the MVP," Damon said. "He's the guy you want coming up in the clutch. I always hope I'm on base for him."
Damon was on third base in the fourth inning when Jeter hit a grounder to the right side that easily produced another run and moved Melky Cabrera to third.
"I like when he's hitting in key situations," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He seems to know what to do, even something as simple as a groundball to second with nobody out to get a runner in and a runner over. He just never lets his guard down."
Jaret Wright (10-7) allowed three runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings to earn his first win since Aug. 12. He struck out two, walked two and did not permit a runner past first base until Ramon Hernandez homered in the fifth.
"I tried to stay on the attack, tried to get ahead," Wright said. "Before that I was getting in trouble being behind in the count."
The victory boosted New York (85-56) past Detroit for the best record in the AL.
"This is our high-water mark right now, 29 games over," Torre said. "You don't worry about who you're behind or who you're ahead, if you can get the right number of games over .500 you're going to be there."
The Orioles will not, and now it's official. Baltimore fell a season-high 18 games under .500 (62-80) and were officially eliminated from playoff contention with Minnesota's 12-1 win over Detroit.
Hernandez went 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBI, his third multihomer game of the season and the sixth of his career. But Baltimore managed only three other hits in losing for the sixth time in seven games.
Former Oriole Sal Fasano and Nick Green homered for New York. It was Fasano's first home run with the Yankees since joining the team in a July 26 trade with Philadelphia.
All three homers came off Baltimore rookie Hayden Penn (0-2), who yielded seven runs, nine hits and two walks in three-plus innings. Coming off a 2006 debut in which the right-hander gave up eight runs and retired only two batters against Oakland, Penn lowered his ERA from 108.00 to 36.82.
But there were few positives in his second straight poor performance.
"Right now I'm searching for answers. I just didn't get it done," he said.
Penn got through the first inning this time, but New York struck for three runs in the second. Robinson Cano hit a leadoff double and Aaron Guiel walked before Fasano homered on a 3-2 pitch.
Jeter hit his 13th homer in the third after Cabrera doubled. Green led off the fourth with his second home run, and Penn departed immediately before Jeter drove in Damon with a grounder to second for a 7-0 lead.
After Hernandez ruined Wright's shutout bid, a sacrifice fly by Jeter and Bobby Abreu's RBI single put the Yankees up 9-1 in the sixth.
Wright was pulled after issuing two walks in the seventh. Ron Villone retired David Newhan before Hernandez hit his 18th homer, an opposite-field shot to left.
New York played a second straight game without 1B Jason Giambi (hand injury) and 3B Alex Rodriguez (ill). ... Baltimore DH Jay Gibbons was a late scratch because of back spasms. ... The Yankees didn't go down in order until the seventh. ... Fasano's three RBI were one more than he had in his first 18 games with the Yankees.