SS has strong return after injury layoff

NEW YORK (AP) -- Derek Jeter's return was a stroke of good luck
for the New York Yankees. Now, they're hoping to catch a break with
Kevin Brown.

Jeter came back from a three-game absence to hit a go-ahead home
run in the seventh inning, and the Yankees overcame Brown's injury
by rallying past the Colorado Rockies 7-5 Wednesday night.

Brown was forced to leave after only two innings because of
stiffness in his lower back. A six-time All-Star, the 39-year-old
righty has been beset by back problems and surgery, going on the
disabled list six times in the previous five years.

"Obviously, you come out at that point in the game, you have to
have some doubt about what you'll be able to do," Brown said.
"Maybe this is coming to a head, and we'll be able to get it
straightened out," he said.

Brown said he slipped on a pitch in the first inning, and
likened the sensation to having a "steel rod" in his back. He'll
report to Yankee Stadium on Thursday morning and see how he's
doing, and that will determine whether he needs further tests.

Brown said the discomfort does not feel similar to what he had
after back surgery.

"Whether it's good news or bad news, we'll find out," Brown

Manager Joe Torre did not want to speculate on the severity of
the injury.

"We're hopeful," he said.

The Yankees won their 12th straight interleague game, the
longest streak in the majors since AL vs. NL regular-season play
began in 1997.

New York has won 13 of 15 overall. Colorado lost its fourth in a

Jeter, sidelined by tightness in his left groin, homered along
with Bernie Williams and Gary Sheffield as New York came back from
an early 5-0 hole. The Yankees won when trailing by at least four
runs for the sixth time this season; they did not do it once last

"We can score runs in bunches because we have some guys who can
hit," Jeter said.

Joe Kennedy (4-4) took a 5-4 lead into the seventh, and Miguel
Cairo led off with a double for the third of his career high-tying
four hits.

Jeter followed by lining a full-count pitch over the
center-field fence for his eighth homer, and he responded to a
standing ovation by taking a curtain call. Jeter connected on the
10th pitch of the at-bat. It made him 10-for-21 with three homers
against Kennedy.

"At first, I was trying to move the guy over," Jeter said.
"He made some tough pitches, and I was able to foul them off. I
was seeing the ball good tonight."

With the crowd of 38,013 still cheering, Williams homered into
the right-field seats.

Paul Quantrill (5-2) pitched one inning and got the victory.
Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 25th save in 26 chances.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said it was a tough loss at the end
of a difficult day. His grandfather was buried in the afternoon.

"From here on in, I've made a little promise to him. As long as
I'm given the opportunity to do this, it's going to be either a win
or loss, and we're going to move on from there."

Brown began the second by walking Vinny Castilla, the first walk
allowed by Yankees starters in four games. Singles by Jeromy
Burnitz and Matt Holliday made it 1-0, and rookie Choo Freeman hit
an RBI single, with another run scoring on Sheffield's throwing
error from right field.

Aaron Miles added an RBI single in the hole -- Jeter left the
spot vacant when he ran to second, anticipating a pickoff throw --
and Brown was done after retiring Royce Clayton to end the inning.

Tanyon Sturtze relieved to begin the third and walked Mark
Sweeney with the bases loaded to make it 5-0. Todd Greene followed
by grounding into a double play, limiting the damage. Sturtze
pitched four effective innings.

Kennedy's throwing error set up the Yankees' four-run rally in
the third.

With two on and none out, Kennedy fielded Williams' one-hopper,
whirled and threw to second base. But instead of Colorado getting
an easy double play, the ball split the Rockies' middle infielders
and a run scored.

Alex Rodriguez followed with a sacrifice fly and Sheffield hit a
two-run homer off the left-field foul screen, pulling New York to

Game notes
The Rockies were the only team in major league baseball
that had never held a lead at Yankee Stadium in a game that counted
until Holliday's RBI single. Many NL clubs such as San Diego and
Arizona did it in the World Series. ... Rodriguez singled his first
time up, reaching base safely for the 46th straight game. ...
Burnitz has a 13-game hitting streak, one short of his career high.