Baltimore on seven-game skid

BALTIMORE (AP) -- No longer is there any doubt about the ability
of the star-studded New York Yankees to bury their opponents under
a barrage of hits and runs.

After starting the season losing 11 of 20 games, the Yankees
have hit their stride, and just about everyone is contributing.

Alex Rodriguez homered and Hideki Matsui had two hits during an
eight-run fifth inning, and New York hammered the Baltimore Orioles
18-5 Thursday night to complete a three-game sweep.

Enrique Wilson homered and drove in four runs, and Tony Clark
also had four RBI for the Yankees, who outscored the Orioles 41-17
in the series.

"We were getting blamed for not getting the big hits," said
Rodriguez, whose homer put New York ahead for good.

There were plenty of stars in this one, including Derek Jeter,
who had his second straight three-hit game, and Matsui, who went
3-for-3 and scored four runs.

"I think the guy who's under the radar screen is Hideki Matsui,
with some unbelievable grinding at-bats," Rodriguez said.

It was only the fourth time in franchise history that New York
scored as many as 41 runs in a three-game series. The Yankees
reached season highs in runs and hits (21) in the finale.

"We expected some production when the season started," manager
Joe Torre said. "As it turned out, when we started the season we
had trouble scoring runs. This is what we're capable of doing. Not
18, but we can beat up on some people."

The devastation took place at the expense of former Yankees
first base coach Lee Mazzilli, now a rookie manager with Baltimore.

"It's your former team, but regardless of who you play, you
want to win and you want to play well," Mazzilli said. "We just
didn't do that."

Miguel Tejada, Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Leon homered for the
Orioles, who have lost seven straight.

"We'll handle it. It's just a bump in the road you have to
overcome," said Mazzilli, who met with the team before the game in
an effort to keep the players upbeat. "It's not easy to swallow,
but it's not the whole season."

New York trailed 3-0 before getting nine hits in its most
productive inning of the season. The last time the Yankees scored
as many as eight runs in an inning was May 8, 2003, when they put
up 10 at Seattle.

New York also scored six in the seventh, three in the eighth and
capped the barrage with a run in the ninth.

"We have a lot of guys who can beat you," Jeter said. "We can
score a lot of runs that way."

The Yankees had 51 hits in the series and batted .411. Jeter,
who came to Baltimore batting .190, added 21 points by going

Jose Contreras (2-2) allowed three runs and eight hits in
six-plus innings to earn his first win since April 28.

Sidney Ponson (3-5) limited the Yankees to two hits through four
innings and retired eight straight before it all came apart in the
fifth, when New York sent 12 players to the plate and got seven
consecutive two-out hits.

A sacrifice fly by Wilson left a runner on first with two outs.
Kenny Lofton then singled, Jeter doubled in two runs and Rodriguez
hit his 12th home run for a 5-3 lead.

Gary Sheffield and Jorge Posada followed with singles before
Matsui, who started the inning with a single, chased Ponson with a
two-run double.

Bernie Williams greeted Mike DeJean with an RBI single before
the onslaught ended with a strikeout by Clark.

"Ponson had real good stuff. We didn't get anything the first
four innings, and all of a sudden with two outs we break through,"
Torre said.

Matsui and Miguel Cairo hit RBI singles, Clark doubled in two
runs and Wilson homered with one aboard in the seventh.

Contreras retired eight straight before Melvin Mora laid down a
perfect bunt with two outs in the third. Tejada then hit his sixth
homer, and Palmeiro followed with a shot to right.

Game notes
The Yankees scored 41 runs in three games against Colorado
in 2002. ... It's the first time since 2002 that the Yankees scored
in double digits in three straight games. ... Orioles starters had
a 9.88 ERA in the series. ... The 41 runs allowed was the most
allowed at home by Baltimore in a three-game series. ... After the
game, Baltimore optioned RHP Denny Bautista to Double-A Bowie and
called up RHP Eddy Rodriguez from Triple-A Ottawa.