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Archive for Sunday, September 19, 2004

Lieber gives Yankees big lift against Red Sox

September 19, 2004

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— Jon Lieber stopped the charging Boston Red Sox in what could turn out to be a key game in the AL East race.

Lieber no-hit the Red Sox until David Ortiz's two-out home run in the seventh inning, and the New York Yankees beat up on Derek Lowe in a 14-4 win Saturday that restored their division lead to 31/2 games.

With the Yankees still thinking about Boston's 3-2, ninth-inning comeback victory against Mariano Rivera a night earlier, Derek Jeter walked opening each of the first two innings and Alex Rodriguez followed with hits both times. New York went on to build a 9-0 lead by the second.

"Jeter, you get two walks in one game, you think you hit the lottery," Yankees manager Joe Torre said of his free-swinging captain.

Jorge Posada hit a two-run single in a five-run first inning, and later hit a solo homer, Rodriguez hit a three-run homer, and Bernie Williams had a home run and three RBIs.

Lowe was knocked out in the second, his shortest start since July 3, 1997, leaving after Rodriguez hit a hard shot that bruised the pitcher's right leg. By the eighth, giddy fans started reminding Boston of its bitter history, chanting "1918!" -- the last year the Red Sox won the World Series title.

"To come back and win this game was very important," Gary Sheffield said.

With a victory Saturday, Boston would have closed within 11/2 games of the Yankees for the first time since before play June 2. Instead, New York can boost its lead to 41/2 games today, when Mike Mussina pitches against Pedro Martinez. The teams play three more times at Fenway Park next weekend.

"It's a boost of confidence for us," Lieber said.

While the Yankees had their highest-scoring home game this season, Boston lost by its widest margin since a 15-2 defeat May 27 at Oakland. The Red Sox trailed the Yankees by 101/2 games before play on Aug. 16, but closed the gap by winning 25 of 30 games coming into Saturday.

After watching Lowe's poor pitching and a disastrous display of defense by the Red Sox, first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz was asked to rate the performance.

"You mean 10 being the worst?" he said. "How 'bout a 12?"

Lieber (12-8), coming off reconstructive elbow surgery in August 2002, won for the fourth time in five decisions.

White Sox 9, Tigers 8 (12)

Chicago -- Joe Borchard scored from second base on Aaron Rowand's infield single in the 12th inning, giving Chicago a victory over Detroit. Borchard and Rowand each hit two-run homers in the 10th inning after Dmitri Young and Carlos Pena hit two-run shots in the top half to give Detroit an 8-4 lead.

Athletics 7, Mariners 4

Seattle -- Tim Hudson beat Seattle for the third time this season, and Eric Chavez hit his 29th homer for the A's.

Rangers 2, Angels 0

Anaheim, Calif. -- Emergency starter Joaquin Benoit pitched two-hit ball into the fifth inning, then six relievers gave up three hits the rest of the way for Texas.

Blue Jays 4, Devil Rays 2

Toronto -- David Bush and three relievers combined on a three-hitter for the Blue Jays. Bush (4-4) gave up two runs -- one earned -- and two hits in six innings. The rookie right-hander only allowed Julio Lugo's single in the third and Jose Cruz Jr.'s single in the fourth.

Orioles 12, Twins 3

Minneapolis -- Miguel Tejada homered twice and drove in five runs, and rookie Daniel Cabrera threw six strong innings for Baltimore.

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