Final

Series: Game 3 of 3

New York won 3-0

Game 1: Friday, September 27
New York 6Final
Baltimore 2
Game 2: Saturday, September 28
New York 4Final
Baltimore 2
Game 3: Sunday, September 29
New York 6Final
Baltimore 1

Yankees 6

(103-58, 51-30 away)

Orioles 1

(67-95, 34-47 home)

1:35 PM ET, September 29, 2002

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland 

123456789 R H E
NYY 000321000 6 - -
BAL 001000000 1 - -

W: M. Mussina (18-10)

L: J. Stephens (2-5)

Yanks start at home; Soriano misses 40-40

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The New York Yankees got what they wanted: home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs and a coveted day off.

New York's Alfonso Soriano didn't reach his goal, but was relieved to put his quest for 40 homers behind him.

Jeter, Soriano

Derek Jeter, left, and Alfonso Soriano will have a day's rest before the ALDS.

And the Baltimore Orioles? Well, they finally get to go home.

New York clinched home-field advantage, using home runs by Rondell White and Jason Giambi to beat Baltimore 6-1 Sunday.

Soriano went 0-for-5 and finished with 39 home runs. He was bidding to join Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco and Alex Rodriguez as the only players in major league history to have 40 homers and 40 steals in a single season.

He struck out on three pitches against Jorge Julio on his final chance in the ninth inning.

"It's gone. My mind now is clear and ready for the playoffs,'' he said. "Now I don't have to think about 40-40 all the time. I'm more relaxed now.''

Soriano did, however, set the franchise record for at-bats in a season (696), breaking the mark of 692 set by Bobby Richardson in 1962. He also led the AL in hits (209), steals (41) and runs (128).

"I'm happy that I had an unbelievable year,'' he said. "Everybody says congratulations for the year I have.''

The Yankees' fifth straight victory put them at 103-58, their best record since 1998. Oakland began Sunday at 102-59 but New York won the tiebreaker by winning the season series against the Athletics 5-4.

"It's a big relief to not have to sit and wonder what Oakland is doing,'' winning pitcher Mike Mussina said. "It's important for us to have that advantage and eliminate one of those cross-country trips down the road, if it comes to that.''

New York also avoided a potential makeup game at home against Tampa Bay on Monday.

"It would have crammed too many things into one day,'' manager Joe Torre said. "It will be nice to be able to go home and work out and get all of our paperwork out of the way. Then Tuesday we can concentrate on playing.''

Roger Clemens will start for New York in Tuesday's playoff opener against the Anaheim Angels, followed by Andy Pettitte and Mussina.

Baltimore closed with 12 straight losses, tying the third-longest skid in franchise history. The Orioles (67-95) went 4-32 after reaching the .500 mark on Aug. 23.

"I don't think there's a sense of relief that the season is over. There is a sense of frustration, because the last month of the season was so difficult for all of us,'' manager Mike Hargrove said.

Mike Bordick finished what could be his final season with two major league fielding records intact. He has 110 consecutive errorless games and 543 successive errorless chances at shortstop.

Down 1-0, the Yankees took the lead for good in the fourth inning. John Stephens (2-5) walked Giambi and Robin Ventura before White hit a hanging curve into the left-field seats.

Giambi hit his 41st homer in the fifth after a single by Derek Jeter, and Shane Spencer added an RBI single off Sean Douglass in the sixth to make it 6-1.

Mussina (18-10) allowed one run -- unearned -- and six hits in five innings, his second straight win after an 0-3 stretch. He is 5-1 against his former team.

"We need him this time of year. He's more comfortable with his stuff,'' Torre said. "The big difference for him is his breaking ball, when he throws it for strikes and is able to spot it.''

Jeff Weaver pitched three scoreless innings, preparing for a relief role in the postseason.

The Orioles went up 1-0 in the third, scoring an unearned run on a throwing error by Soriano -- his 23rd of the season, tying third baseman Ventura for the team high. It was the only lead Baltimore held in the three-game series, and it was gone by the next inning.

Game notes


Baltimore set a team record with 311 doubles, breaking the old mark set two years ago. ... The Yankees' seventh straight road win matched their season high. ... The crowd of 46,443 brought the Orioles' home total to 2,682,917. With the exception of the strike-shortened 1994 season, it's the only time in the 11-year history of Camden Yards that Baltimore failed to draw 3 million.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES