<
>

Jeter's HR supports spot starter

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Gary Sheffield gingerly holds his gimpy
left shoulder close to his body these days, wincing with every
painful step or swing of the bat.

His right arm, however, is feeling just fine.

Sheffield ended a Rangers scoring opportunity in the first with
a perfect throw home for the final out of the inning, and the New
York Yankees kept Texas scoreless from there in a 4-2 win on
Wednesday night.

"I didn't think it was going to be a low-scoring game,"
Yankees manager Joe Torre said, "but Sheff's throw kept it from
getting out of hand."

Derek Jeter hit a solo homer, Tanyon Sturtze pitched five strong
innings in a spot start and the Yankees' highly touted bullpen shut
down the Rangers to end a two-game losing streak.

Sturtze (4-2), moved into the rotation Tuesday because Javier
Vazquez has pink eye, started poorly but recovered enough to give
the Yankees a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits in the first,
but held the Rangers scoreless from there. He allowed only five
hits overall with one walk and one strikeout in his first start
since bruising his right pinkie in the Yankees' bench-clearing
brawl with Boston three weeks ago.

"I give Sturtze a lot of credit," Torre said. "After the
first inning, it looked like it could turn into something ugly.
Sturtze flirted with danger, but he kept battling."

Paul Quantrill, Tom Gordon and Mariano Rivera combined to pitch
four hitless innings to preserve the five-hitter, with Rivera
getting three outs for his 39th save in 42 chances.

That trio of relievers is 21-3 in games that they've each
appeared out of the bullpen.

"We're all trying to do our job and it's been working," Rivera
said. "It's a great thing to have ... three guys who can shut the
game down."

Jeter gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the first with a shot to
left-center that barely cleared the fence for his 15th homer.

Michael Young responded with a run-scoring single in the bottom
half of the inning and Gary Matthews Jr. was later hit by a pitch
with the bases loaded, scoring Young to give the Rangers a 2-1
lead.

But Sheffield, who's considering a second cortisone shot in his
achy left shoulder, ended the threat by fielding Brian Jordan's pop
fly then making a terrific throw to nail Hank Blalock at the plate
for the third out.

"Sheffield's throw changed the whole outlook of the game,"
Sturtze said. "He came up huge."

Said Torre: "That's pretty amazing. He's been having some
physical problems."

Texas right-hander Nick Regilio walked the first three batters
of the second inning before John Olerud's RBI groundout and Miguel
Cairo's RBI sacrifice fly to center put the Yankees back on top
3-2.

Bernie Williams' sacrifice fly to left in the eighth scored
Hideki Matsui for a 4-2 lead.

Regilio (0-4) lost his fourth straight game, allowing three runs
and two hits in three innings. The 25-year-old rookie walked four
and struck out one.

Afterward, Texas manager Buck Showalter hinted that Regilio
might have made his last start for the Rangers this season.

"We'll sit down and talk about it," Showalter said. "There's
a lot to look at. If you make the decision to do something with
Nick ... it's something we'll think about."

Predictably, former Ranger Alex Rodriguez was booed every time
he came up to bat. He finished 1-for-5 and grounded out on his last
at-bat, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd of 43,729.

Game notes
Jeter extended his season-high hitting streak to 12 games.
... The temperature at the start of the game was an unseasonably
cool 80 degrees. ... Matthews was back in the starting lineup after
being replaced by Jordan the past two games. Matthews had started
every game in right field since the All-Star break.