NEW YORK (AP) -- Jeff Weaver made the most out of his rare
opportunity to start.
"That's what I'm meant to do,'' said Weaver, who has spent most
of the past month in the bullpen. "I feel more confident about it
and it's what I do best. I was fortunate I had the opportunity to
go out there and start.''
The Yankees have won seven of eight, reducing their magic number
to 10 for clinching their fifth straight AL East title.
Joe Torre's second-game lineup looked more like a split-squad
team from spring training than the regular Yankees.
But it proved to be enough against the Orioles, who have lost 16
of 17 games.
"The season is not over,'' Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove
said. "We haven't given up. We're still playing hard. For 15, 16
days, things haven't worked for us.''
After Chris Richard's RBI double gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead in
the second inning, the Yankees tied it in the third.
John Vander Wal and Rivera opened the inning with line drives to
left field. Marty Cordova just missed on diving attempts on both
balls, putting runners on second and third.
With one out, Vander Wal scored on a passed ball by Brook
Fordyce, narrowly beating Fordyce's throw to Sidney Ponson (7-6).
"I thought that he was out,'' Ponson said. "But the umpire
called it already. You can't do anything about it.''
With one out in the fourth, Mondesi hit his 26th homer, giving
the Yankees 209 on the season -- second-most in franchise history.
Led by Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, New York hit 240 homers in
Rivera added an RBI single to right in the seventh inning,
giving him three RBIs on the day and four in his career as he tries
to win a spot on New York's postseason roster.
"He has a good approach to hitting for a youngster,'' Torre
said. "He doesn't try to pull the ball and do too much. "He had
three RBIs and every one was to right field. That's really healthy
Weaver (9-11), making his second start since Aug. 1, allowed
four hits and retired 20 of his last 21 batters. He has had a tough
time cracking the Yankees' deep starting rotation since being
acquired from Detroit on July 5.
"I kidded him before the game, telling him 'I know you can get
the last three outs, let's see about the first 24,''' Torre said.
"He said, 'I do that better.' He doesn't lack for confidence.''
The Yankees didn't walk a batter for the sixth straight game,
extending their walkless streak to 58 innings since Pettitte walked
Boston's Nomar Garciaparra in the fifth inning last Wednesday.
Only 8,875 fans showed up for opener, a makeup of a June 6
rainout -- New York's smallest crowd of the year.
Pettitte left with a 2-1 lead after giving up a one-out double
in the eighth to Luis Matos. After an error by first baseman Nick
Johnson, Ramiro Mendoza got out of a first-and-third jam by getting
Jerry Hairston to hit into a double play.
Mendoza allowed a ninth-inning homer to Tony Batista before Mike
Stanton got the last out for his fourth save.
Baltimore starter Jason Johnson (4-13), bothered by an upset
stomach, allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings.
New York broke a tie in the seventh when Rivera's single scored
Jorge Posada. The Yankees added three runs in the eighth -- on a
pair of run-scoring wild pitches and Mondesi's RBI double.
Reliever Willis Roberts hit Giambi with a pitch in the right
arm, drawing a warning from plate umpire Sam Holbrook. Giambi
glared out Roberts and took a step toward the mound before going to
The Orioles opened the scoring in the fifth inning on Matos' RBI
The Yankees tied it in the sixth on Rivera's sacrifice fly.
The opener was the smallest crowd at Yankee Stadium since
last Oct. 1, when 8,112 fans showed up for a game against Chicago.
That was a makeup for a game postponed because of the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks. ... Baltimore is 15-14 against first-place teams
in the AL. ... Ponson pitched a six-hitter in his 17th career