Final in 11

Series: Game 2 of 3

NY Yankees leads 2-0 (as of 7/18)

Game 1: Monday, July 17
NY Yankees4
Game 2: Tuesday, July 18
in 11
NY Yankees5
Game 3: Wednesday, July 19
NY Yankees2

Mariners 4

(44-50, 20-26 away)

Yankees 5

(55-36, 31-17 home)

    7:05 PM ET, July 18, 2006

    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

    1234567891011 R H E
    SEA 30001000000 4 7 0
    NYY 11000000201 5 12 1

    W: S. Proctor (3-2)

    L: J. Mateo (5-4)

    Melky's 11th-inning walkoff lifts Yanks in Ponson's debut

    NEW YORK (AP) -- A blown call in the ninth inning keyed a big rally in the rain that kept the New York Yankees' winning streak intact.

    Melky Cabrera homered leading off the 11th and New York pulled out a rain-delayed 5-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night, making manager Joe Torre a winner on his 66th birthday.

    Playing a giddy Johnny Damon at first base in extra innings after a disputed call led to the tying run, the streaking Yankees won their fifth straight and ninth in 10 games.

    "The guys keep fighting. It's really good to see," said Sidney Ponson, who pitched into the seventh during an encouraging Yankees debut.

    Richie Sexson hit a three-run homer and Joel Pineiro held a depleted New York lineup in check for six-plus innings before the Yankees came back against J.J. Putz.

    They were trailing 4-2 when Andy Phillips doubled leading off the ninth, and he scored on a one-out single by pinch-hitter Aaron Guiel.

    As thunder crackled and a heavy rain began to fall, pinch-runner Bubba Crosby advanced to second on Putz's wild pitch.

    Then the Yankees got a huge break.

    Second baseman Jose Lopez made a sliding grab of Jorge Posada's grounder on the slick outfield grass, found a firm grip and threw a strike to first. But umpire Mike Reilly called the slow-footed Posada safe -- replays clearly showed he was out -- leaving runners at the corners.

    "I didn't think it was close. I think you guys saw the replay," Putz said. "You've got to live with it. He made the call."

    The Mariners screamed in protest, and a white towel came sailing out of Seattle's dugout. Manager Mike Hargrove charged out to argue and was quickly ejected by Reilly.

    "Obviously, I thought he missed it," Hargrove said. "He said he didn't miss it, he got it right."

    Damon followed with a sacrifice fly that tied it at 4. It was Putz's third blown save in 20 chances.

    Reilly, the crew chief, halted play with a 3-1 count on Alex Rodriguez, who didn't start because of a sore toe. After a delay of 1 hour, 58 minutes, he struck out looking against Julio Mateo.

    But Cabrera drove a 2-1 pitch from Mateo (5-4) just over the short porch in right for his fourth homer and raised his arms high as he rounded first.

    "I was just trying to make good contact and get on base," Cabrera said through a translator.

    Scott Proctor (3-2) worked a hitless 11th for the win.

    When the Yankees ran out of backups, Damon moved from center field to first base in the 10th, drawing a roar from the few thousand fans remaining. It was the first time he's played the infield in his major league career.

    "I was thinking about taking some groundballs at first base today. But it was too hot," Damon said. "Joe didn't really want me to go out at first for another inning with Ichiro coming up."

    Phillips also moved from first base to second for the first time in his career.

    Seattle has lost four in a row and 10 of 12.

    Rodriguez's replacement at third, Nick Green, went 3-for-3 with two doubles. Phillips homered and Jason Giambi drove in a run, but Pineiro was in control most of the night.

    Signed last Friday to replace struggling right-hander Shawn Chacon at the back of the rotation, Ponson kept New York in the game.

    He allowed four runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out five and walking three. The 29-year-old right-hander, who has had problems with alcohol, left to a boisterous ovation from the crowd of 52,992.

    "There's still a ways to go, but I'm happy about it," Ponson said. "I was nervous. When I'm too strong, I have a tendency to fly open and I have trouble throwing strikes."

    Ponson started 4-0 for St. Louis this season but lost his final four decisions with the Cardinals and was designated for assignment on July 7.

    He walked two of his first three batters Tuesday before Sexson hit his 18th homer on a hanging breaking ball, giving Seattle a 3-0 lead. Ichiro Suzuki blooped an RBI single over a drawn-in infield in the fifth.

    "Ponson was great," Torre said. "The two walks were the things that got him, but that's not a surprise. He hasn't pitched in a few weeks. Once he settled in, he was terrific. We're looking forward to his next start."

    Game notes

    Seattle CF Adam Jones singled in the seventh for his first major league hit, ending an 0-for-12 stretch. ... Mariners 3B Adrian Beltre made a pair of spectacular plays. ... Yankees RHP Octavio Dotel, working his way back from elbow surgery, struck out two in a scoreless inning for Double-A Trenton. ... Ponson had a 5.24 ERA in 14 games, including 13 starts, with St. Louis.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press