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Yankees' rotation improves to 15-0 with latest win

4/23/2003

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Six months later, the New York Yankees
took a big lead against Anaheim and held on.

On the 100th anniversary of New York's first game, the Yankees
defeated the team that knocked them out of last year's playoffs,
beating the World Series champion Anaheim Angels 8-3 Tuesday night
behind Jeff Weaver.

When they got to Edison Field, the Yankees got their first look
at the Angels' championship flag flying beyond the fence in left
center, and manager Joe Torre said, "It's not just another series.
We're playing the world champs. These guys manhandled us.''

The Yankees did the manhandling in this year's first meeting.

Jorge Posada hit his sixth homer, and New York's rotation
improved to 15-0, the best beginning for starting pitchers ever by
a major league team. Weaver (2-0) gave up three runs and nine hits
in 6 1/3 innings.

"They're a tough club, deep in some very important areas. It's
no fluke with their record,'' Anaheim manager Mike Sciosica said.

The Yankees' extended their franchise-best start to 17-3.

"It is amazing, it really is,'' Torre said. "We're good, we're
confident and pitching has been the reason that we've been so
consistent. We just hope we can ride this thing as long as we
can.''

After winning four straight AL pennants, and World Series titles
from 1998 to 2000, the Yankees were eliminated 3-1 by Anaheim in
the best-of-5 first round. New York led at some point in every game
of the series, including 6-1 in Game 3, which the Angels won 9-6.

While Torre thought this three-game set in Anaheim was special,
the Yankees' Bernie Williams regarded it as just another tough
series.

"We just look at this as another series against a very good
opponent,'' said Williams, who had two hits and drove in two runs.
"Obviously, they proved that they were the best team last year by
winning the World Series.

"But last year is over, and we have a different challenge this
year.''

John Lackey (1-2), who went on to beat San Francisco in Game 7
of the World Series, gave up seven runs -- six earned -- and five hits in three-plus innings.

"It's pretty embarrassing,'' said Lackey, whose ERA rose to
8.51. "Right now I'm going out and letting the team down.''

Posada hit a two-run homer, and Jason Giambi had two hits and
two RBI.

Antonio Osuna, who relieved Weaver, left with one out in the
eighth after cramping in his groin while making a pitch.

"It looked like he had a spasm and I'm a little concerned about
it,'' Torre said. "We'll know more tomorrow.''

The Angels had a runner on in every inning against Weaver, but
stranded nine in the game.

"We were a couple of swings away from getting back in the
game,'' Scioscia said.

Yankees starters have won 19 consecutive regular-season
decisions dating to last year, breaking the previous AL record of
18 set by the 1906 Chicago White Sox. The major league record since
1900 is 23, set by the 1916 New York Giants.

The Yankees' first game -- on April 22, 1903 -- was a 3-1 loss to
the Senators in Washington. New York was named the Highlanders
then, and the club was renamed Yankees in 1913 when they moved from
Hilltop Park to the Polo Grounds. Since that first game, the
franchise has won 38 AL pennants and 26 World Series titles.

"My first year or so, I was a little in awe because I never
wore the pinstripes and I could never tell the stories. But after
what we've done here over the last few years, I feel like I'm part
of it now and it's pretty special,'' said Torre, who has guided the
Yankees to four World Series titles in seven years.

The Yankees have played 15,484 regular-season games, going
8,794-6,690.

Anaheim lost 14 of its first 20 games last year, the worst start
in franchise history, and rebounded to finish with a club-record 99
wins. The Angels, who won the World Series for the first time, are
9-11.

Game notes
New York SS Derek Jeter could start swinging a bat in the
next couple of days as he works his way back from a dislocated left
shoulder. Jeter is expected to be out at least another three weeks.
... Anaheim RHP Kevin Appier went on the 15-day DL with a strained
flexor muscle in his right forearm, and 2B Adam Kennedy was
activated after being sidelined by a strained right hamstring. The
Angels also recalled OF Jeff DaVanon from Salt Lake and optioned
INF Chone Figgins to the Triple-A team. ... Yankees RHP Steve
Karsay, who has bursitis in his shoulder, was given two cortisone
shots and told to rest for five days before throwing again. ... New
York RHP Jose Contreras, who has a 10.80 ERA in five appearances
for the Yankees, worked out Tuesday at the New York Yankees' minor
league complex. He is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Columbus
twice next week. ... Angels RHP Aaron Sele, coming back from
shoulder surgery, made his fourth rehab start, giving up one run on
four hits in four innings of Triple-A Salt Lake's 1-0 loss at
Fresno. ... Anaheim CF Darin Erstad missed his second consecutive
game because of an inflamed tendon in his lower right hamstring.