Yankees surge in sixth, A-Rod blasts 21st HR to stomp ChiSox

Hero: Rodriguez had an RBI double in the sixth, as well as his homer in the ninth.

Figure this: The Yankees beat Mark Buehrle to improve to 4-9 against lefties this season.

Quotable: "I just bought a bottle of champagne two months ago for him. Now it's frozen. I'm going to drink it tonight." -- White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on Buehrle, who remains stuck at 99 career victories

-- ESPN.com news services

Yankees 7, White Sox 3

CHICAGO (AP) -- Alex Rodriguez believed the losing would stop sooner or later.

And while it's early to declare a turnaround, the New York Yankees are taking steps in that direction.

The latest came Tuesday night, when Rodriguez homered and drove in three runs in a 7-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

"You have to have faith and believe in your guys," Rodriguez said. "I certainly do. I know our guys believe in themselves."

It was a rare win for the Yankees against a left-hander, and it came against a good one: Mark Buehrle.

The Yankees broke a 1-1 tie with four runs in the sixth, making a winner of rookie Tyler Clippard (3-1). He pitched five innings, allowing one run on five hits while striking out four and walking three.

The White Sox loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against Kyle Farnsworth but settled for one run.

They also loaded the bases against Brian Bruney with one out in the ninth. But Mariano Rivera came in and got Jermaine Dye on a sacrifice fly to center and A.J. Pierzynski to ground out for his sixth save in eight chances.

Rivera lowered his ERA to 4.87 -- the first time it's been below 5.00 since he allowed three runs at Oakland on April 15.

New York banged out a season-high 17 hits off Buehrle (2-3) and three relievers. Six Yankees had multi-hit games, and each batter had at least one as the Yankees improved to 4-9 against lefties.

"Right now, I think we're poised to do something special," manager Joe Torre said.

Buehrle has gone seven straight starts without a win since beating Kansas City on April 23 and remains stuck on 99 career victories. The left-hander allowed five runs and 11 hits -- both season-highs -- in six innings as the White Sox suffered their eighth loss in 10 games.

"I just bought a bottle of champagne two months ago for him," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Now it's frozen. I'm going to drink it tonight."

Buehrle dodged trouble early, getting three double plays in the first four innings, before things fell apart in the sixth.

Johnny Damon led off with a double to the left-field corner, Derek Jeter laid a bunt single down the third-base line, and the rally was on.

Bobby Abreu, who batted .208 in May, drove in Damon with a single to right to put the Yankees ahead 2-1. It was his second single of the game and his ninth hit in 16 at-bats.

Rodriguez then drove in Jeter with a double off the wall in center, and Abreu came in on Jorge Posada's sacrifice fly to right, just beating Dye's throw. Hideki Matsui added an RBI single to make it 5-1.

"It was one of those games where you make some pitches and they get base hits," Buehrle said. "You miss a spot and a guy hits a double off of you."

Suddenly, the good vibe the Yankees created by taking two of three from Boston over the weekend returned. And the sting from Monday's 6-4 loss to Chicago faded.

"It's a huge month for us," Damon said. "We need to take advantage of the schedule. We need to take advantage of getting Roger (Clemens), we need to take advantage of getting me healthy by having me DH. We just need to take advantage of a lot of situations here in June. I like the way we've gone about playing."

Damon went 3-for-5 after entering the game in a 1-for-16 slide. Robinson Cano had two hits and has 11 in his last 21 at-bats, raising his average to .276. Jeter broke 3-for-27 slide with two hits, but he had carried the offense along with Jorge Posada and Rodriguez.

Rodriguez's solo homer in the ninth on a 3-1 pitch from Dewon Day was his major-league leading 21st.

"I don't think our goal is to win 10 in a row," Rodriguez said. "I think the goal is to win two out of three, three out of four. If we get fortunate enough to pull out seven, eight or nine in a row, that's always a bonus."

Game notes
Roger Clemens is still aiming to make his 2007 debut Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner threw in the outfield and briefly off a bullpen mound Tuesday at the minor league complex, one day after an MRI exam showed a scar-tissue injury in his right groin. He also ran for 12 minutes during the 2-hour, 50-minute workout. ... RHP Carl Pavano underwent surgery to repair the ulna collateral ligament in his right elbow on Tuesday, likely bringing his unproductive stint with the New York Yankees to an end. ... The Yankees recalled LHP Sean Henn and purchased the contract of INF Chris Basak from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, while sending OF Kevin Thompson back to Triple-A. ... White Sox OF Scott Podsednik (groin) will join Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday for a rehab assignment, although he's not 100 percent. ... 3B Joe Crede sat out Tuesday with tightness in his back and a trip to the DL is possible. Alex Cintron started in his place.

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