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Yanks finish with season-high six homers

NEW YORK (AP) -- Maybe the Detroit Tigers just got tired of
seeing Alex Rodriguez tee off against Wilfredo Ledezma.

Rodriguez and Jorge Posada each homered twice, and the surging
New York Yankees routed Detroit 12-3 Tuesday night behind Mike Mussina to move three games over .500 for the first time this
season.

Both of A-Rod's home runs came off Ledezma, giving him four
homers in four career at-bats against the left-hander.

"I think it's pretty obvious that he's comfortable against
him,'' Tigers manager Alan Trammell said.

Rodriguez, who leads the major leagues with 16 homers and 46
RBI, was plunked near the hip by Franklyn German in the seventh, a
pitch that appeared to be intentional.

"You have to pitch inside. It was a sinker that moved too much.
I didn't want to hit him. What can you do?'' German said.

A-Rod jogged to first without a problem, but was removed from
the game just as several other Yankees regulars already had been.

"I don't want to talk about it, so many good things happened
tonight,'' Rodriguez said. "It feels like I got stung pretty
good.''

Paul Quantrill retaliated in the eighth, throwing behind Jason Smith and then hitting him with a pitch in the back. That brought
the Tigers out of their dugout, and Quantrill egged them on,
gesturing for them to come out for a fight.

"If they want to come out on the field and chirp, then just
come out to the mound,'' Quantrill said. "When guys get wild when
our guys are having a fantastic day at the plate, that leads to
tension. The guy pitching for the Tigers, whatever his name is, it
must have been the rain, the ball was slippery.''

The Yankees never left their bench, and order was quickly
restored with no punches thrown. New York manager Joe Torre and
Quantrill were ejected.

"I lost a lot of respect for him,'' Detroit's Rondell White
said. "You don't throw, trying to hit somebody up near his head,
and then do that. It was terrible. We wanted him to know we didn't
like it.''

Early in spring training, Detroit's Dmitri Young crashed into
Yankees backup catcher John Flaherty on a play at the plate, a
startling sight during an exhibition game.

Quantrill said the Yankees didn't appreciate that play and
thought it was "out of line,'' but the latest tension between the
teams seemed to stem more from Rodriguez getting plunked and
Quantrill throwing high.

Robinson Cano hit his first major league homer and Gary
Sheffield also connected, showing his sore left hand is healthy
enough for him to hit. The Yankees (24-21) finished with a
season-high six home runs, four off Ledezma, and won for the 13th
time in 15 games to pull 1½ games behind second-place Boston in the
AL East.

Mussina (5-2) allowed six hits in seven shutout innings, winning
his fourth straight decision in a span of five starts. He improved
to 16-5 against the Tigers.

"It's good to see us come out after the off day and keep the
momentum going,'' Mussina said. "The last two years I got off to a
little bit of a slow start and I've been able to figure things out
five or six starts into the season. We're playing more like we
thought we would, more like we think we're capable of.''

Even on a windy, 48-degree night in the Bronx, New York's
hitters warmed up quickly, scoring 10 or more runs for the seventh
time this season.

Posada homered from both sides of the plate for the sixth time
in his career and drove in four runs. Rodriguez had the 39th
multihomer game of his career, the third this season. He also
walked, scored three times and knocked in three runs.

Rodriguez homered to right-center off Ledezma (2-4) in the
second and added a two-run shot in the fourth. Posada followed with
a drive to left, his first homer from the right side this season.
Jason Giambi then singled, Bernie Williams doubled and Cano
delivered a sacrifice fly, making it 5-0.

Sheffield hit a two-run shot in the fifth for No. 422 of his
career, chasing Ledezma. Hideki Matsui doubled off Matt Ginter,
Rodriguez walked and Posada connected for a three-run homer from
the left side and a 10-0 lead.

Detroit's Marcus Thames hit a three-run homer off Buddy Groom in
the eighth.

Cano homered into the right-field upper deck off Doug Creek in
the bottom half.

Game notes
Sheffield missed the previous two games because of
tendinitis in his left hand. ... Rodriguez has 397 career homers.
... The Yankees have won five consecutive series openers. ... New
York's Tony Womack got his 15th stolen base, 12 in the last 10
games without being caught. ... For sitting through the cold, rainy
weather, the Yankees offered fans a chance to exchange their ticket
stubs for free admission to a game on Sept. 6 or Sept. 8 against
Tampa Bay. ... The four homers allowed were a career high for
Ledezma. ... It was Posada's 10th career multihomer game. ... The
six homers by New York tied its most ever at Yankee Stadium,
accomplished four times previously. The previous was June 4 last
year against Texas. ... The Yankees are 26-8 against Detroit at
home since the start of the 1998 season. ... New York starting
pitchers are 12-1 with a 2.78 ERA in the last 15 games. They were
8-14 with a 5.48 ERA in the first 30 games.