Yankees’ streak hits eight
New York surging as Johnson wins No. 250
OAKLAND, CALIF. ? Tino Martinez hit two more effortless home runs, while Randy Johnson strained and sweated to get his 250th win. Not to be forgotten, Joe Torre also reached a milestone.
All that drama did nothing to slow the swagger of the New York Yankees, who have become more confident, more businesslike and more dangerous with each of their eight straight victories.
Martinez hit his seventh and eighth homers in eight games, and Jason Giambi doubled home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning of the Yankees’ 6-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.
Although Johnson improbably failed to strike out a batter for the first time in nearly five years, the Yankees rallied from a three-run deficit with all the veteran confidence and firepower lacked by the reeling A’s, who lost their eighth straight.
Torre was thrilled by the Yankees’ complete effort in the manager’s 1,800th career victory, which pushed them back to .500 at 19-19.
“We didn’t really think (.500) would be here this soon, but we know it’s not the ultimate goal,” said Torre, who became the 13th skipper to reach the mark.
And while two more Coliseum fans gave Oakland another black eye with clownish behavior, the A’s longest losing streak since July 1998 was extended — with the World Series champion BoSox headed into town.
Johnson (4-2) allowed three runs in the first inning, but recovered to pitch six innings of seven-hit ball. Johnson became the 42nd pitcher to reach 250 victories — but he didn’t increase his career total of 4,211 strikeouts.
“I didn’t want to be the wheel that fell off the wagon,” Johnson said of the winning streak. “(Not getting a strikeout) really wasn’t important to me.”
It was the longest appearance of Johnson’s career without a strikeout, surpassing his three innings April 10, 1989, with the Montreal Expos against Philadelphia.
The Big Unit, who was born and raised in the Oakland suburbs, last failed to get a strikeout Aug. 25, 2000, while pitching just 21/3 innings for Arizona against the New York Mets.
Martinez erased Johnson’s early three-run deficit all by himself. He hit a solo homer in the second inning and a tying two-run shot in the fourth, both over the short right-field fence against A’s starter Dan Haren.
Martinez’s streak of five consecutive games with a homer ended Friday, but he hit another Saturday. His second homer off Haren was his 12th of the season, tying teammate Alex Rodriguez for the major-league lead.
“They’re not like towering shots,” Martinez said with a grin. “They’re just barely getting over the fence.”
Giambi, who’s getting consistent playing time on the Yankees’ road trip to help the club determine his future, went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
Two men rushed the field in the fourth inning and led security on a protracted chase. One fan attempted to escape over the right-field wall, but A’s outfielder Eric Byrnes and a security guard pulled him down.
“I’m frustrated as I can be,” Byrnes said of the A’s struggles. “We have to keep a positive attitude. It’s tough, because when you’re not winning, it creates a negative attitude.”
Blue Jays 5, Indians 2
Cleveland — Roy Halladay pitched 72/3 superb innings, and Vernon Wells hit a three-run homer. Halladay (6-2) allowed five singles and used his fastball along with a nasty breaking ball to get 14 outs on grounders.
He walked three and struck out six in improving to 4-0 in eight career starts against Cleveland.
Angels 9, Tigers 3
Detroit — Bengie Molina’s three-run double capped a six-run third inning, and John Lackey won for the third time in four starts for Los Angeles.
The Angels hadn’t scored more than five runs since beating Oakland, 9-5, on April 23, a span of 18 games. Lackey (4-2) allowed only three runs and eight hits in 72/3 innings. He walked a season-high five batters.
Twins 5, Rangers 2
Minneapolis — Shannon Stewart snapped a tie game with a three-run homer in the sixth inning, lifting Brad Radke.
Stewart drove in four runs. Radke (4-3) won his third straight decision, yielding seven hits and two runs in seven innings while striking out two.
Orioles 6, White Sox 2
Chicago — The White Sox didn’t lead for the first time this season, as Sal Fasano and David Newhan hit their first home runs in Baltimore’s victory.
Chicago set a major-league record by having a lead in 37 straight games to begin a season. That also tied the 1934 Yankees and 1942 Cardinals for the third-longest overall streak with a lead.
But the Orioles used seven strong innings from Erik Bedard and two RBIs apiece from Fasano and Newhan to build a 4-0 lead on their way to a split of the four-game series between division leaders.
Bedard (4-1) won his fourth straight decision, giving up five hits, including the two homers, in seven-plus innings.
Mariners 5, Red Sox 4
Seattle — Struggling Miguel Olivo had three hits, including his first homer of the season, and Seattle overcame Manny Ramirez’s 400th home run.
Ramirez became the 39th player in major-league history to reach 400 when his three-run shot with two outs in the fifth brought Boston within a run. He flied out with the tying run on second to end the game as the Red Sox lost a series for the first time this month.