Wells sweats out a tough win over Texas


ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- David Wells spent about as much time in the locker room as he did on the mound Tuesday night. The result was his fifth straight win.

Slurping water, changing out of sweaty clothes often and soaking
up air conditioning, Wells recovered from a shaky start to throw
seven solid innings while his homer-happy New York Yankees teammates did the rest in a 9-6 victory over the Texas Rangers.

Bernie Williams and Jason Giambi hit two-run home runs, and Raul
Mondesi and Alfonso Soriano had solo shots for New York. It's the eighth time
this season the Yankees have had four or more in one game and
they've won them all.

"When you're 39, you should get at least 10 runs per game,'' Wells said, smiling.

Williams' homer put New York up 2-0 in the top of the first,
then Wells allowed a three-run homer to Alex Rodriguez -- his
majors-leading 35th -- before getting an out. Six of the first nine
Rangers reached against Wells, including three singles in the six
at-bats after Rodriguez's homer.

But the wily veteran worked out his kinks. He didn't allow a
runner past second between Rodriguez's homer and a solo homer by
Kevin Mench in the seventh inning.

A good curveball was part of the solution. So was his routine of going from the mound to the clubhouse to escape the Texas heat.

"Feel how cool it is in his here and how hot it is out there,'' he said. "You do the math.''

Wells began drinking as much water as possible on Monday, and kept it up throughout the game. He lost plenty of it by sweating, forcing him to change his T-shirt and jersey at least three times, the first time coming after warmups. He thanked the clubhouse workers for drying his clothes in time for him to have a fresh set whenever he wanted.

All that moving around also helped his balky back from stiffening. Throwing 30 pitches in the first inning certainly didn't help.

"That took a lot out of me,'' he said. "You can't get cute and mess around or else you'll get their big guys coming up and their lineup is pretty similar to ours.''

Similar, indeed. New York leads the majors in homers with 161
and Texas is second with 141. The Rangers hit three in this game,
but the last two came after they were down by five.

"We let Wells off the hook,'' said Rafael Palmeiro, who had
Texas' third homer. "If you don't get him early, he's going to
settle down and pitch like he pitched tonight.''

Wells won his fifth straight decision, giving up four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out five and didn't allow a walk. Ramiro Mendoza got the final out with a runner on first for his second save.

New York won its third straight, fifth in sixth and 10th of 13. The Rangers lost their third straight, falling to 5-15 since the All-Star break.

Texas starter Aaron Myette (0-3) struck out the leadoff hitter in the first four innings, but had trouble with everyone else. He allowed six runs on six hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings. His ERA rose to 10.42 from 9.39. In 19 innings, he's struck out 20 but allowed 22 runs.

"You see some great stuff, and you also see a guy trying to get his feet on the ground at the big league level,'' Rangers manager Jerry Narron said.

Williams tied the game at 3 with a double, then Mondesi put New
York ahead with his 19th homer in the fourth. A two-run single by
Jeter later in the inning knocked out Myette.

"He just loves that situation, being on the stage when he has to come through,'' New York manager Joe Torre said.

Giambi hit his 27th homer of the season off Juan Alvarez in the sixth. Soriano's 26th was off Jay Powell in the eighth.

Rodriguez's homer was his 11th of the month, most in the majors, and the 276th of his career, one behind Ernie Banks for second all-time among shortstops. Cal Ripken's 345 top that list. The RBI upped his majors-leading total to 91.

Palmeiro's homer was his 475th, tying Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 20th all-time. The RBIs gave him 1,537, tying Joe DiMaggio for 32nd.

Game notes
The Yankees are 18-1 when hitting at least three homers in
a game. ... The first out in the top of the fifth went 1-6-3-4-2.
Mondesi was trying to steal second, then got caught in a rundown.
When second baseman Michael Young dropped the ball, Robin Ventura
tried scoring but was thrown out at home. ... Yankees starter Roger
Clemens will make another rehab start Thursday with Double-A
Norwich. Torre said he's healthy enough to pitch in the majors, but
needs to work on his sharpness. ... Texas closer Jeff Zimmerman,
out all year with injuries, underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a
tendon and a ligament in his pitching arm. He's expected to miss
another 10 to 12 months.