Matsui, Posada also homer in victory

NEW YORK (AP) -- At least Mariano Rivera and the New York Yankees
let the Baltimore Orioles get close in this game.

Coming off an overpowering sweep at Camden Yards last week, the
Yankees again bolted ahead behind Derek Jeter's two solo home runs.
The Orioles rallied in the ninth inning, only to fall short 8-7
Tuesday night.

"We had a big lead," Rivera said after barely holding on.
"All of a sudden, a single and a walk, and I was in. But that's
not an excuse."

Down 8-3, the Orioles made it interesting when Miguel Tejada and
Javy Lopez each hit two-out, two-run singles off Rivera. With two
on, B.J. Surhoff hit a slicing liner that left fielder Hideki
Matsui caught to end it.

"I'm proud of my guys, the way they battled back," Orioles
manager Lee Mazzilli said. "When you do it against a guy like Mo,
it's something."

Matsui and Jorge Posada hit two-run homers to back Mike Mussina
(6-4) in his fifth straight victory.

The Yankees beat the Orioles three times and outscored them
41-17 in the series at Baltimore. For a while, this one looked like
a repeat performance.

"I'm happy with the way we're swinging it," Yankees manager
Joe Torre said.

The AL East-leading Yankees opened a 12-game homestand by
winning for the seventh time in eight games. They ended Baltimore's
four-game winning streak and left Mazzilli still looking for his
first victory against New York, where he coached the previous four

Baltimore outhit the Yankees 14-13. The Orioles have gotten at
least 13 hits in seven straight games.

Sidney Ponson (3-6) fell to 3-10 against the Yankees. He matched
a career high by allowing 12 hits after getting tagged by New York
last week.

The supposed ace of the Orioles, Ponson has given up seven or
more runs in six of his last 10 starts.

"It's a puzzle for everybody. I don't know what's going on.
Hopefully, I can get it back together," Ponson said.

Said Mazzilli: "He's still your guy you've got to go to, you
know. Whenever he goes to the mound, I have not lost any confidence
in him."

Jeter drove in a run for his eighth straight game -- extending
his career-long streak -- and had four hits.

Batting only .190 last week, the All-Star shortstop raised his
average to .233. Jeter also had an RBI double and a single.

Matsui, the AL player of the week, reached for a high pitch and
lined a two-run homer. He has 15 hits in his last 29 at-bats.

Ruben Sierra hit an RBI single in the fifth that put the Yankees
ahead 4-3. Jeter led off the sixth with a home run and Posada
homered later in the inning. Jeter connected again in the eighth,
giving him five career multihomer games.

Rivera relieved with one out in the ninth after the Orioles
loaded the bases and held on for his 19th save in 20 chances.
Opposing hitters had been 0-for-22 against him with runners in
scoring position until Tejada stopped that string.

A pitcher who relies greatly on routine, Mussina got off to a
shaky start -- rain held up the first pitch for 40 minutes -- and
Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice threw out the first ball right
before Mussina started to warm up.

Peeved with a couple of ball-strike calls, Mussina gave up two
quick runs, starting with an RBI single by AL batting leader Melvin
Mora. Mussina, a six-time Gold Glove winner, later failed to look
back Mora at third base on a tapper by Lopez, and another run

Posada led off the second with a routine high fly that center
fielder Luis Matos lost in the lights. The ball fell behind him for
a double, Matsui homered and Jeter hit an RBI double.

Brian Roberts doubled and scored on Tejada's single in the
fifth, tying it at 3.

Game notes
Yankees CF Kenny Lofton has a strained left hamstring, an
MRI exam showed Tuesday, and will be placed on the 15-day disabled
list, retroactive to May 27. RHP Bret Prinz will be recalled from
Triple-A Columbus. ... Orioles OF Jay Gibbons did not play for the
seventh straight game because of a bad back. ... Yankees 1B-DH
Jason Giambi, on the disabled list because of a sprained right
ankle, is scheduled to start a rehabilitation assignment with Class
A Tampa on Wednesday. ... A fan tumbled hard out of the left-field
stands reaching for Roberts' double in the fifth. The man was OK,
but was led out by security. ... Mora extended his hitting streak
to 14 games. He fouled out in the ninth, almost getting hit in the
head when Posada tossed his mask.