<
>

A-Rod provides power to fuel Rasner's first big-league win

NEW YORK (AP) -- Now that Alex Rodriguez's slump is over, he
looks unstoppable.

Rodriguez hit two more homers Sunday and drove in five runs, and
Darrell Rasner pitched six impressive innings for his first major
league win to lead the New York Yankees past the Minnesota Twins
10-1.

Going into Thursday, A-Rod was in a 1-for-24 skid that left fans
booing him at Yankee Stadium again. Since then, he's hit five
homers in four days -- and he almost certainly would have had
another one if not for a fierce wind on Saturday.

"It's been fun because the team has been playing so well,"
Rodriguez said. "I think everybody's been a lot more panicked than
I have."

Bobby Abreu doubled three times, and Jorge Posada and Robinson
Cano added three hits apiece for the AL East-leading Yankees, who
took two of three games from Minnesota in a possible playoff
preview. New York leads Boston by a season-high nine games in the
East.

They never needed Mariano Rivera, either. The star closer was
unavailable all weekend because of a stiff elbow.

Rodriguez hit a solo shot off Matt Garza (1-4) in the fifth
inning and a three-run drive off Pat Neshek in the seventh,
reaching 30 homers and 100 RBI for the ninth straight season.

Jimmie Foxx is the only player with a longer streak, according
to the Elias Sports Bureau. He did it 12 straight years from
1929-40.

"He kept working at it. He wasn't quitting on anybody. It's
just great to see much more relaxed at-bats out of him," Yankees
manager Joe Torre said. "He can put numbers up like nobody, with
his ability."

Torii Hunter homered for the slumping Twins, who have scored
only 15 runs while going 2-5 in their past seven games. Minnesota,
a half-game behind Chicago in the AL wild-card race, dropped to
2-13 at Yankee Stadium since 2002.

"The Yankees have a $200 million payroll, and we play for
minimum wage," Hunter said.

Recalled from Triple-A Columbus before the game, the 25-year-old
Rasner (1-0) allowed four hits and walked none in his second big
league start -- and first for the Yankees.

Pitching before a sellout crowd of 55,155, he kept his poise in
the third, when he escaped a first-and-third jam with no outs.

"The turning point of the game," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire
said. "That changed the momentum."

Rasner was claimed off waivers from Washington in February and
went 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA in 10 starts at Columbus this year. The
right-hander was on the disabled list from June 2 to Aug. 23 with a
sore shoulder.

"I don't think it gets any better than this," he said. "It's
very exciting."

Mike Myers got two outs in his 800th career appearance, and
Scott Proctor worked 1 1-3 hitless innings before Kyle Farnsworth
closed it out.

Hunter homered on a 3-0 pitch in the second, his 23rd this
season and second in two days.

The Yankees took control with a four-run third.

Derek Jeter walked and scored from first on Abreu's double.
Posada hit a two-out RBI single and Cano blooped a two-run double
that got past a sliding Jason Tyner in left field.

Rodriguez added an RBI single in a two-run eighth, leaving him
with 31 homers and 104 RBI. He has 44 career multihomer games,
including four this season.

The two-time MVP rediscovered his swing by batting .375
(9-for-24) with five home runs and 11 RBI on New York's 4-2
homestand. He was brought out for several curtain calls -- including
one on Sunday.

"The way he hit the ball today was not even right. It was not
even human," Hunter said.

Rodriguez has 10 seasons overall with at least 30 homers and 100
RBI. Lou Gehrig, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez
also reached the plateaus in nine consecutive seasons.

Game notes
Jeter extended his hitting streak to a season-best 14 games
and tied Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto for the most games played at SS
with the Yankees (1,647). ... The teams split the season series
3-3. ... Minnesota 2B Luis Castillo missed his fourth consecutive
game with a sprained right ankle. Gardenhire hopes Castillo will be
able to play Monday at Tampa Bay. ... Yankees LF Hideki Matsui
(left wrist) is scheduled to work out with Class-A Staten Island on
Monday and Tuesday before beginning a rehabilitation assignment
with Double-A Trenton on Wednesday.