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Wells wins 18th; White drives in two runs

9/22/2002

DETROIT (AP) -- Now, Rondell White has another thing to be
excited about -- the end of a long slump.

One day after the Yankees' wild celebration of their fifth AL
East title in a row, White broke out of a 7-for-50 skid with three
doubles and two RBI to lead New York to a 4-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

"After all of the partying yesterday, I felt very relaxed and
happy," he said. "It's hard to worry about a slump when you are
having that much fun."

With Shane Spencer injured, White is competing for the left
field spot in the postseason.

"I don't know if it will be Rondell or Juan Rivera or John Vander Wal -- that decision will all depend on who we are facing and
just my hunches," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "It's nice to
have that many options, though."

The Yankees, playing a makeshift lineup the day after clinching
the AL East, swept the three-game series to win the season series
8-1.

The Tigers lost their fifth game in a row and their 101st of the
year.

"I never expected this coming out of spring training," said
manager Luis Pujols, who began the season as Phil Garner's bench
coach. "I try to think positive, so I was expecting at least
.500."

David Wells (18-7) won for the sixth time in his last seven
starts, allowing three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits in eight
innings. He did not walk a batter.

Detroit is trying to avoid setting an AL record for fewest bases
on balls.

"It's scary to face the Tigers, because they just hack like
crazy," Wells said. "It's like pitching in A-ball again, and that
was always my worst league. They will swing at anything."

Rookie Mike Maroth (6-9) allowed four runs in eight innings for
his fourth loss in five starts. He walked one and hit two batters
with pitches.

"I obviously didn't have my rhythm," he said. "I got behind
too many hitters -- I felt like I was 2-0 or 2-1 to too many batters
and then you have to give them something to hit. They hit the ball,
that's for sure."

Mike Stanton pitched the ninth for his fifth save.

A crowd of 23,930 showed up for the last home game of retiring
Tigers radio announcer Ernie Harwell's career. The game started
four hours before the scheduled kickoff of the Detroit Lions' home
opener at new Ford Field, just across the street from Comerica
Park.

New York jumped out to a 3-0 lead off Maroth in the first on RBI
doubles by White and Raul Mondesi and a run-scoring groundout by
Ron Coomer.

"He just made a couple mistakes and got hurt by them," Pujols
said. "Other than a couple pitches with bad location, he threw the
ball well."

Detroit made it 3-1 in the second on Damion Easley's RBI single
before the teams traded runs in the third.

White's second double of the game scored Mondesi in the top half
before Fick made it 4-2 with a sacrifice fly.

Easley pulled Detroit back within one in the fifth, hitting his
first homer since Aug. 20.

"Damion has always hit me, and he did it again today," Wells
said. "I'm just glad we hung on to win, because I hate noon
starts. I don't like any day game, but I especially don't like noon
starts. I felt blah all day."

Game notes
3B Coomer made a double error in the third inning, leading
to an unearned run. Coomer misplayed Craig Monroe's grounder, then
threw the ball into the first-base stands, allowing Monroe to take
second. Monroe scored on Fick's sacrifice fly. ... Derek Jeter,
Jason Giambi, Robin Ventura and Bernie Williams were among the New
York regulars to take the day off. ... Easley's homer was his first
against Wells in 51 career at-bats. ... Harwell began his Detroit
career in 1960. The Tigers will name the Comerica Park press box in
his honor. Harwell's wife Lulu performed the final of the daily
video tributes after the seventh inning. ... Yankees 2B Alfonso Soriano went 0-for-4 and remains one homer short of becoming the
fourth 40-40 player in major league history.