American League Roundup: New York bounces back

Win pulls Yanks within two games of Boston in East

? The New York Yankees really wanted a win, and needed Ramiro Mendoza to get it.

Mendoza retired 10 of 11 batters in relief of struggling David Wells, and the Yankees ended a three-game losing streak by beating Boston, 3-2, Saturday.

Mendoza (2-2) came in with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth after New York manager Joe Torre conferred with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre.

“I said to Mel in the fourth inning, ‘Where do we go here?”‘ Torre said. “He said, ‘use Mendoza as far as he can go.”‘

He made it all the way into the eighth when he gave up a leadoff single to Nomar Garciaparra and was replaced by Mike Stanton, who retired the next two batters. Mariano Rivera finished for his 15th save in 17 chances.

“Good teams have to handle bad times. There’s no question this was a huge game,” Torre said.

The Yankees had lost two straight games to the Red Sox, including an 11-inning setback Friday. The win left them two games behind first-place Boston in the AL East.

“There’s none better,” Derek Jeter said of Mendoza, who has a streak of 1123 scoreless innings. “We need someone that’s going to bridge the gap for the situation to Mo.”

Mendoza’s 313 innings and 42 pitches were surprising, since he had pitched three innings Thursday, and the Yankees weren’t sure he’d be available before today. Saturday’s stint was more important since the Yankees had used three relievers Friday after Roger Clemens, like Wells, lasted just 323 innings.

With the bases loaded in the fourth and the Yankees ahead 3-2, Mendoza made Shea Hillenbrand pop out, then set down the next nine batters two on strikeouts and six on grounders

Derek Lowe, who won his previous six decisions and entered leading the AL with a 1.90 ERA.

He fell behind 3-0 after two innings.

“The second inning, they owned me,” Lowe said. “I was behind all the hitters.”

Indians 3, Blue Jays 0

Toronto C.C. Sabathia pitched three-hit ball for seven innings, and Travis Fryman hit a three-run homer for Cleveland.

Paul Shuey and Bob Wickman finished the five-hitter, Cleveland’s third shutout of the season. Wickman worked the ninth for his 11 save in 12 opportunities.

Sabathia (4-4), making his second start since being robbed at gunpoint on May 17, struck out six and walked three to send Toronto to its 11th loss in the last 16 home games.

Toronto starter Esteban Loaiza (2-1) extended his scoreless streak to a career-high 18 1-3 innings before Fryman broke up the scoreless tie with his fifth homer.

A’s 6, Devil Rays 0

Oakland, Calif. Aaron Harang (1-0) struck out 10 in his major league debut, pitching three-hit ball for seven innings as Oakland beat Tampa Bay.

Jermaine Dye hit a two-run homer, and Miguel Tejada also had a two-run shot as the A’s won for the third time in four games after dropping 14 of 17. Chad Bradford finished with two hitless innings for his first save.

Tampa Bay’s Travis Harper (1-2), making his third straight start in place of injured Delvin James, allowed three runs on five hits in six innings. Tampa lost its third straight.

Oakland designated left-hander Mike Holtz for assignment to make room for Harang.

White Sox 6, Tigers 4

Chicago Ray Durham hit his 100th career homer and Chicago relievers combined for 4 2/3 hitless innings as the White Sox defeated Detroit to win their fourth straight game.

Kenny Lofton hit a two-run double and Durham hit a two-run homer in a five-run second inning against Seth Greisinger (2-2). But White Sox starter Gary Glover couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning, leaving after Dmitri Young’s RBI single with one out made it a 5-4 game.

Kelly Wunsch (1-0) came on and got Randall Simon to hit into an inning-ending double play.

Orioles 3, Mariners 2

Seattle Travis Driskill won his first major league start, and Jeff Conine hit a two-run homer as Baltimore snapped a streak of 15 straight losses in Seattle, including 14 at Safeco Field. Baltimore’s last road win against the Mariners came on June 1, 1999, at the Kingdome.

The 30-year-old Driskill (2-0) spent nine years in the minors before being called up from Triple-A Rochester on April 25 and making five relief appearances for the Orioles.

He allowed one run and four hits in six-plus innings, walking one and striking out four.

Conine homered in the sixth off Rafael Soriano (0-1), who was also making his first big league start.

Buddy Groom got five outs for his first save.

Boone led off the seventh with a home run to center field, chasing Driskill. It was Boone’s seventh home run of the season.

Soriano struggled with his control and threw 29 pitches in the first inning before settling down.

Mora hit a leadoff double, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored when Soriano walked three straight batters to give Baltimore a 1-0 lead. He escaped the bases-loaded jam by getting Tony Batista to pop out and striking out Marty Cordova.

Mora’s first-inning double was the only hit Soriano allowed until the sixth, when Chris Singleton doubled and scored on Conine’s fifth homer, pushing Baltimore’s lead to 3-0.