Ruben Sierra hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, and Jon
Lieber pitched eight strong innings in the Yankees' 11-3 victory
Rodriguez was missing from the Yankees' lineup for the first
time this season -- after starting 114 straight games at third base
-- and he wasn't even at Safeco Field to watch the game. He has the
flu and was feeling so badly that the Yankees let him skip the game
so he could rest.
Manager Joe Torre said after the game that he didn't expect
Rodriguez to be available Saturday, but probably would be able to
"Alex went home," Torre said. "The doctor saw him before the
game and said it was probably best if he went home because he was a
mess tonight. He just wasn't feeling good.
"I doubt if he'll be able to play tomorrow. I think you look
for Sunday at the earliest."
Mariners manager Bob Melvin didn't see any letup from a Yankees
lineup that was without its All-Star third baseman.
"Sometimes 4-3 losses are tougher to take," he said. "But you
don't like to get whacked around like that."
In routing the last-place Mariners, the Yankees improved to a
season-high 33 games over .500 at 74-41.
Miguel Cairo replaced Rodriguez at third a night after hitting a
grand slam and went 3-for-5, including an RBI triple, as the
Yankees had 14 hits -- eight for extra bases.
Lieber (9-7) won his second straight start. He gave up three
runs and seven hits, struck out four and walked none.
Although right-hander Mike Mussina is rejoining the rotation
next Tuesday night at Minnesota, the Yankees won't demote any of
their starters, including Lieber, to accommodate Mussina. Instead,
the Yankees will go with a six-man rotation for at least two turns.
Lieber said an expanded six-man rotation is fine with him.
"I think if you ask pitchers, they'll always tell you they can
use an extra day of rest," he said. "I don't think it's going to
affect me either way."
Sierra hit his second grand slam of the season and eighth of his
career in a six-run fourth. New York batted around, the 23rd inning
the Yankees have done that this season.
Sierra's 14th homer was his first since July 24 and it came off
Scott Atchison, who replaced Ron Villone with the score 6-0 and one
out in the fourth with two runners on.
It was Sierra's 299th career homer. He can't wait to get his
"I don't feel any pressure," he said. "I know it's going to
happen. If I put pressure, it might take longer."
Villone (4-3), making his seventh start of the season, gave up
eight runs on 10 hits and three walks, with three strikeouts.
"My control got the best of me," Villone said. "I got too
many pitches in the strike zone."
After Sierra gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead with an RBI double in
the second, they made it 4-0 against Villone on Williams' three-run
shot in the third.
Posada homered off new Mariners closer J.J. Putz in the ninth.
Miguel Olivo hit a two-run homer off Lieber for the Mariners'
first runs in the fifth.
Yankees first baseman John Olerud returned to Seattle, but
didn't play because Torre elected to play Tony Clark at 1B against
Villone. Olerud will start Saturday and Sunday, Torre said. The
Mariners released Olerud on July 27 after designating him for
assignment, and the Yankees signed him as a free agent Aug. 2. ...
Derek Jeter has a 14-game hitting streak, the longest by a Yankees
player this season. ... The Yankees have eight grand slams in 2004,
including grand slams in consecutive games. Cairo's slam Thursday
came against Scott Erickson on Thursday. ... Seattle's Bret Boone
had his career-high 16-game hitting streak ended. ... The Yankees
are 5-2 against the Mariners this season.