Brown off to best start since 1990

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kevin Brown was angry.

He had pitched seven shutout innings before giving up Scott
Spiezio's home run, and Yankees manager Joe Torre removed him after
a two-out single in the eighth. The crowd of 54,732 responded with
a standing ovation as Brown walked off the mound and, finally, as
he approached the dugout, he responded with a tip of his cap.

While most of the Yankees concentrated on the positives of
Sunday's 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners, which gave Brown a 5-0
start for the first time since 1990 with Texas, he chose to dwell
on his mistakes.

"I don't know if they can understand," he said. "I feel like
I've given them a chance to get back into the game. I'm pretty
irritated at myself. At that point in time, I'm not so sure I'm
worthy of that kind of appreciation. I'm too busy kicking myself."

While Brown gave the bullpen a rest for most of the sunny
afternoon following New York's 13-7, 13-inning loss Saturday,
backups John Flaherty and Tony Clark drove in the runs. The
Yankees, who have won 14 of 18 following an 8-11 start, moved back
into the AL East lead, a half-game ahead of Boston.

Flaherty, getting his fourth straight start while Jorge Posada
recovers from a broke nose, connected in the third inning off Joel
Pineiro (1-5) for his first home run since Aug. 16. Clark, playing
because back spasms sent Jason Giambi to a hospital for a massage,
hit an RBI single in the fourth.

"That was my one lucky swing for the month," said Flaherty,
who thought the drive to left would hook foul. "There's no
admiration -- more shock."

With Posada out, Flaherty played after catching 204 pitches
during Saturday's 4-hour, 24-minute game.

"I was sore, but once you get going, you feel pretty good," he

Clark's single scored Bernie Williams, making it 2-0.

"Your No. 25 guy is just as important," said Clark, who has 30
at-bats this season. "It means simply that I need to work harder
than I did when I played every day -- got to get to the ballpark
earlier, got to put that time in the weight room, got to do the
extra running, got to do the extra swinging so if I get that one
at-bat late in the ballgame or I come in defensively late in the
ballgame, I am as sharp as I can possibly be."

Brown, much sharper than he admitted, became the first Yankees
pitcher to open 5-0 since Roger Clemens in 1999.

With runners at first and second in the third inning, the
39-year-old right-hander retired Spiezio on a popup. With the bases
loaded and one out in the fourth, Brown got Rich Aurilia on a foul
pop to the catcher and Pat Borders on a routine forceout at third.

"With his ball moving all over the place, he's not really a fun
guy to face," Aurilia said. "He's 5-0 for a reason."

Brown allowed eight hits, including the homer to Spiezio that
went just over the right-field wall.

Tom Gordon threw a called third strike past Jolbert Cabrera to
end the eighth, and Mariano Rivera finished for his 14th save in 15
chances. After John Olerud singled leading off the ninth and
Seattle advanced the potential tying tun to third, Randy Winn hit a
game-ending grounder.

Pineiro lost his fourth consecutive decision, pitching a
five-hitter for Seattle's first complete game since Jamie Moyer's
six-hitter against Anaheim last Sept. 22.

"I don't mind losing a game like that, especially to a great
pitcher like Kevin Brown," Pineiro said.

Skidding Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"It's pretty frustrating," manager Bob Melvin said. "We need
to play a lot better. We can't just flounder around here. We lost
two of three and went 1-5 on the trip, which is awful."

Game notes
While Posada still wakes up with headaches, they have
lessened and he hopes to be back in the lineup Tuesday, the start
of New York's season-long, 12-game trip to Anaheim, Texas,
Baltimore and Tampa Bay. ... The Yankees optioned C David Parrish
back to Triple-A Columbus to clear a roster spot for RHP Tanyon
Sturtze, acquired Saturday from Los Angeles. Sturtze will start
next weekend, taking the spot of LHP Donovan Osborne. ... Seattle
2B Bret Boone was out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight
game with a hip flexor strain. ... Giambi had what Yankees GM Brian
Cashman called a "soft-tissue massage" and didn't arrive at the
ballpark until late in the game. ... Yankees RHP Jose Contreras
struck out 12 in seven innings for Triple-A Columbus against
Buffalo, allowing two runs, four hits, four walks and two wild
pitches in a 3-2 win. He also hit two batters.