Sat, Jul 30, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Small comes up big for NY Yankees

PRO BASEBALL Starter Aaron Small, won for the second time in as many tries after he was brought up from the minors to aid a depleted pitching staff

AP , NEW YORK

Houston Astros' Brad Ausmus, center, reaches to bunt the ball on a suicide-squeeze play as teammate Eric Bruntlett, right, runs toward home plate during the seventh inning in Houston, Texas on Thursday. Mets catcher Mike Piazza, left, waits for the pitch. Bruntlett scored on the play to tie the game at 2-2. Houston won the game 3-2 for their fifth straight and their 11th victory in 12 games.

PHOTO: AP

Aaron Small won his second straight start since the Yankees brought him up from the minors and Gary Sheffield drove in four runs, leading New York over the Minnesota Twins 6-3 Thursday.

"We can get it done regardless who's out of the lineup," Sheffield said. "I don't know what the rotation is. I don't know who's pitching or when."

Small (2-0) hadn't started a major league game since 1996 before last week, when the 33-year-old right-hander helped New York to an 8-4 victory at Texas -- his first big league win in seven years.

"Until we see something that makes us uncomfortable, you certainly want to keep looking at him," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Right now he seems very confident in what he does, and it's taken him a long time. And guys who stay with it to this point, the determination is there, the know-how, the intelligence on how to pitch."

He gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings, walked none and struck out one, retiring his final 12 batters.

Hideki Matsui played in his 425th consecutive game Thursday, setting a US Major League Baseball record for a player at the start of his career.

Matsui, who joined New York in 2003 after playing 10 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, broke the record set by Ernie Banks with the Chicago Cubs from 1953-1956, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Rangers 2, Orioles 1

At Baltimore, David Dellucci hit a tiebreaking ninth-inning homer, and Alfonso Soriano also connected to lead Texas past Baltimore.

The Rangers took three of four from the sinking Orioles, who lost starting pitcher Sidney Ponson with a bruised right thumb. Baltimore has dropped eight of nine and is one game over .500 for the first time since April 14.

Dellucci snapped a 1-all tie with his 18th homer, a two-out drive on a 1-2 pitch from Chris Ray (0-2).

Ricardo Rodriguez pitched seven-plus innings for Texas, allowing one run and six hits. Kameron Loe (5-3) worked out of a jam in the eighth and Francisco Cordero got three outs for his 24th save.

Blue Jays 2, Angels 1, 18 innings

At Toronto, Orlando Hudson's RBI single in the 18th inning ended the longest game of the season and the longest in Toronto history as the Blue Jays beat Los Angeles.

Toronto's previous record was 17 innings, done three times previously. The last was April 19, 2001, a 6-5 loss to the New York Yankees.

Alex Rios singled off Scot Shields (6-6) with one out before stealing second and advancing to third on a wild pitch. Hudson singled to right past a drawn-in, five-man infield to end it.

Pete Walker (4-3) pitched three innings for the victory.

The game, which was 0-0 after eight innings, took 4 hours, 50 minutes, the longest in the majors this season.

Indians 6, Mariners 5

At Seattle, pinch-hitter Jose Hernandez hit a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning and Cleveland beat Seattle.

Jeff Liefer led off the eighth with a double to center off J.J. Putz (4-4). Brandon Phillips pinch ran and moved to third on Aaron Boone's sacrifice bunt. Jeff Nelson struck out Casey Blake, but Hernandez -- hitting for lefty Ben Broussard -- grounded a single to left off lefty Ron Villone to score Phillips.

Bobby Howry (6-2) got the last out of the seventh and pitched the eighth for the win. Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his 26th save.

Rookie Jeff Francoeur homered twice, Marcus Giles hit a two-run double in a three-run fourth inning, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 5-4 to complete a three-game sweep.

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