AL: Freefall continues for sloppy Yanks

Associated Press
Published May 7, 2005

NEW YORK - Joe Torre's filly broke late from the gate. His baseball team stumbled at the finish.

From Churchill Downs to Yankee Stadium, it was a bitter day for the New York manager.

The Oakland Athletics scored three in the 10th inning without hitting a ball out of the infield, beating Mariano Rivera and the bumbling Yankees 6-3 Friday night.

"It's a tough game because you play every day when you're doing badly," Torre said.

Barry Zito pitched effectively into the eighth, and Oakland got home runs from Eric Byrnes and Bobby Kielty to end a three-game skid and leave New York (11-19) with its worst 30-game start in 39 years.

Torre watched on TV in his clubhouse office as his heavily favored filly, Sis City, finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks about 90 minutes before the game.

The Yankees will have an eye on Churchill Downs today, too: George Steinbrenner owns Kentucky Derby favorite Bellamy Road.

But on the baseball field, the $200-million Yankees look nothing like thoroughbreds.

They have lost four straight and eight of 10, leaving them tied for last in the East with the Devil Rays, nine behind first-place Baltimore.

The Yankees are also eight games under .500 for the first time since June 21, 1995, when they were 21-29 after winning, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

If that weren't enough, Steinbrenner directed a thinly veiled threat at pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre in an interview published Friday in USA Today, upsetting Torre.

"If you're going to give anyone the blame, I'm the captain of the ship and I'm the one who's responsible," Torre said.

New York made three errors in the 10th, two on one play by first baseman Tino Martinez, the former Devil Ray and Jefferson High standout.

"A lot of things have not been going our way, and some things finally did," Oakland's Scott Hatteberg said. "We need confidence wherever we can find it. There's no better place than beating the Yankees, especially in this fashion."

Rivera issued a leadoff walk to Marco Scutaro and, one out later, hit Jason Kendall with an 0-and-2 pitch.

"That ball just took off. I don't have an explanation," Rivera said.

Eric Chavez's infield single loaded the bases, and Hatteberg hit a one-hopper that Martinez knocked down. But he failed to step on the bag for his first error as he made an ill-advised throw to the plate.

Martinez had little chance to get Scutaro, and his throw was wide for a second error, allowing another run.

"I've got to make that play. Once I booted the ball, my whole thought process was, get the out at home," Martinez said. "That play, in my mind, cost us the game."

After a two-out error by third baseman Alex Rodriguez, Rivera forced in a third run with a walk to Keith Ginter.

Zito took a 3-1 lead into the eighth before the Yankees rallied.

Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada delivered a run-scoring single, cutting it to 3-2 and chasing Zito. Derek Jeter and Posada then pulled off a double steal, putting runners at second and third. Jeter scored the tying run on Gary Sheffield's grounder against Dotel.

ORIOLES 3, ROYALS 1: Sidney Ponson pitched eight innings of five-hit ball for his third straight win, and B.J. Surhoff had three hits and two RBIs to lead host Baltimore.

Ponson had a season-high eight strikeouts. He is 3-0 in his past four starts and already has one more win than he did at the All-Star break last season, when he was 3-12.

RED SOX 7, MARINERS 2: Matt Clement won a matchup of unbeaten pitchers, allowing an unearned run in seven innings while Jamie Moyer faltered, and Bill Mueller drove in four to lead host Boston.

Despite removing Johnny Damon and Edgar Renteria from the lineup because of injuries, the Red Sox won their fourth straight to move a season-best five games above .500.

WHITE SOX 5, BLUE JAYS 3: A.J. Pierzynski hit a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth to lead visiting Chicago to its sixth straight win. Orlando Hernandez pitched seven strong innings to help the White Sox improve to 22-7, best in the majors.

ANGELS 4, TIGERS 3: Steve Finley drove in three with a triple and a double and Kelvim Escobar pitched 71/3 strong innings as host Los Angeles won its fifth straight.

INDIANS 8, RANGERS 6: Travis Hafner and Jhonny Peralta hit two-run homers in visiting Cleveland's seven-run first. The Indians got all their runs with two outs in their highest-scoring inning of the season.