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AL: Bruised O's still pack a punch

By Associated Press
Published May 26, 2005

BALTIMORE - Playing without two injured starters, the Orioles were eager to prove they still had enough to tighten their hold on first place in the East.

Rafael Palmeiro provided the necessary offense, and right-hander Rodrigo Lopez made sure it was enough to beat the Seattle Mariners.

Lopez pitched eight innings of five-hit ball to end a run of seven starts without a win, and Palmeiro homered - career No. 556 - off Orioles nemesis Jamie Moyer in a 3-1 victory Wednesday night.

Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts, who started the day as the AL's batting leader, missed his first game of the year with a bruised knee. The Orioles also were without catcher Javy Lopez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken bone in his right hand.

"These guys know what's going on. They know what's happened, and what has to be done," Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. "There's nothing more to be said."

Palmeiro's two-run homer capped a three-run first inning that carried the Orioles to their seventh straight home victory over the Mariners. The win, accomplished in one hour, 55 minutes, enabled Baltimore to open a four-game lead over second-place Boston, which lost to Toronto.

"Everybody had to step up," Palmeiro said. "Rodrigo pitched a great game. That's why we won."

Lopez allowed one run, struck out two and walked none. He was 0-2 since winning his first two starts of the season and was coming off three appearances in which he surrendered a total of 17 runs.

"This time I felt more relaxed, more calm on the mound," Lopez said. "Sometimes I just get too emotional. That was the difference."

B.J. Ryan worked a perfect the ninth for his 14th save and second in two nights.

WHITE SOX 4, ANGELS 2: Freddy Garcia pitched eight strong innings, and Paul Konerko and Chris Widger homered to lead visiting Chicago.

The victory improved the White Sox's record to a major league-best 33-14, matching the 1951 White Sox for the best start in the franchise's 105-year history.

Garcia improved his career record against the Angels to 11-3, allowing two runs and seven hits, while striking out six and walking none. The two-time All-Star, who won the AL's ERA title in 2001, won consecutive starts for the first time this season.

YANKEES 4, TIGERS 2: Derek Jeter made a spectacular tumbling catch in the seventh inning to protect Chien-Ming Wang's lead, and Alex Rodriguez had a go-ahead RBI double for host New York.

With runners on first and second with one out in the seventh and the Yankees leading 4-2, Marcus Thames hit a fly into shallow center field. Running full speed with his back to the plate, Jeter banged into second baseman Robinson Cano, who also was chasing. Jeter reached over his shorter teammate to make the catch, and the pair fell to the ground, with Jeter landing on top of Cano.

The Yankees, who twice left the bases loaded, won for the 14th time in 16 games, moved a season-high four games over .500 at 25-21 and closed within a half-game of second-place Boston in the East. Just two of the wins have come against teams with records above .500 when the games were played.

BLUE JAYS 6, RED SOX 1: Ted Lilly, Vinnie Chulk and Justin Speier combined on a four-hitter for host Toronto, which handed Bronson Arroyo his first loss in 18 starts. Lilly allowed one run and in 62/3 innings, his longest outing this season, and lowered his ERA from 8.82 to 7.59.

Arroyo, 28, a product of Hernando High School, had won nine consecutive decisions since the Chicago White Sox beat him last Aug. 15. He had not pitched since May 16 after dropping his appeal of a six-game suspension stemming from a game on April 24 when he hit two Tampa Bay batters with pitches.

INDIANS 3, TWINS 2 (10): Travis Hafner's bloop single scored pinch-runner Ronnie Belliard from second with two outs in the 10th inning for host Cleveland.

RANGERS 7, ROYALS 3: Richard Hidalgo homered for the fourth time in four games and Pedro Astacio pitched seven solid innings for host Texas, which won its fifth in a row. Hank Blalock added a two-run homer for the Rangers. He also played his 53rd straight game at third base without an error, matching Buddy Bell's club record set in 1979.

[Last modified May 26, 2005, 01:18:13]


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