July 18th, 2006


A-Rod worries surging Yanks


The Associated Press
Seattle Mariners’ Adrian Beltre (29) is out at second as New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter relays the ball to first to complete the double play on Mariners’ Raul Ibanez in the fourth inning Monday night at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees won 4-2.

AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK — The New York Yankees are riding Mariano Rivera’s right arm during an impressive winning streak.
Now, they’re hoping for good news about Alex Rodriguez’s big toe.
Rivera wriggled out of another jam for his 401st save, Jason Giambi homered and Chien-Ming Wang pitched around some sloppy defense to lead the surging Yankees past the Seattle Mariners 4-2 Monday night.
Coming off a sweep of the World Series champion Chicago White Sox, New York won its fourth straight and eighth in nine games to move a season-best 18 games above .500.
Johnny Damon had three hits and an RBI, Miguel Cairo hit a two-run single and the Yankees remained a half-game behind first-place Boston in the AL East.
“That’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re a team that’s put together to win every single day,” Damon said.
After making a career-worst three errors, Rodriguez was lifted in the eighth inning because of a sore left big toe. The star third baseman fouled a ball off his toe in the fifth and plans to go for X-rays today.
“I’ve never done that before,” he said. “It was nice icing on a bad night.”
Yankees manager Joe Torre wasn’t sure if A-Rod would be able to play tonight. New York is already missing three injured All-Stars in Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano.
“I felt it getting a little bit worse as the night went on,” Rodriguez said. “I hope that it’s not broken. I hope that it’s not serious. But you never know if it’s a small fracture or something. We’ll see.”
Wang (10-4) used his heavy sinker to overcome the errors by Rodriguez, who was replaced at third by Nick Green.
New York took advantage of a key Seattle error, sending the last-place Mariners to their ninth loss in 11 games.
“Sometimes you’re going to win ugly. As long as you win, that’s the important thing,” Derek Jeter said.
Following consecutive extra-inning losses in Toronto, the Mariners got a solid start from fast-working Jarrod Washburn (4-10) but couldn’t capitalize on four errors overall by the Yankees in the first meeting between the teams this season.
“We had our chances,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “We made three errors and they scored three runs off one of them. They made four errors and we scored one run off them. All their runs came with two outs. We just didn’t get the big hit.”
Rivera gave up a double and a single to start the ninth, putting runners at the corners. Then he struck out pinch-hitter Eduardo Perez, got Ichiro Suzuki on a popup and fanned Willie Bloomquist to draw a roar from the sellout crowd of 53,444.
Wang allowed two runs and seven hits over seven strong innings in 93-degree heat, improving to 7-1 in 11 starts at home. The right-hander has gone at least seven innings in seven of eight starts.
“He got everybody out of a lot of jams tonight,” Torre said. “You have to play better defense than that.”
Mike Myers and Scott Proctor combined for a perfect eighth against Seattle’s 4-5-6 hitters. Rivera, who escaped two jams and got six outs for save No. 400 on Sunday against Chicago, has converted 22 of 24 chances this season.
Just like Wang, Washburn didn’t get much help from his defense. The Seattle starter yielded four runs — one earned — and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.
He dropped to 0-3 in six starts since his last win, a 4-1 victory over his former team, the Los Angeles Angels, on June 9. But the lefty has pitched well in his past three outings, allowing only four earned runs in 19 1-3 innings.
“It seems I’ve had a lot of these this year where you don’t give up very many runs, but you don’t win, either,” Washburn said. “But what concerns me is that the team is losing. I don’t worry too much about my record, but it’s depressing if the team is losing these games.”
Giambi drove his 28th homer into the right-field upper deck with two outs in the fifth, giving New York a 4-1 lead. He leads the team with 76 RBIs.
Kenji Johjima hit an RBI single in the sixth for the Mariners, but Yuniesky Betancourt grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Rodriguez’s third error could have extended the seventh inning for Seattle, but Bloomquist got trapped off second base and was tagged in a rundown for the third out.
With two outs in the New York second, Melky Cabrera hit a hard smash at the feet of big first baseman Richie Sexson. The ball got by him and was scored a tough error, leading to three unearned runs against Washburn.
Cairo followed with a two-run single and Damon added an RBI single, making it 3-1 Yankees.
“A very, very costly error,” Sexson said. “I feel sorry for Wash. I had my glove down. I’ve made that play before. It’s too bad it had to lead to three runs.”
Suzuki singled on the first pitch of the game and scored on Raul Ibanez’s sacrifice fly.
Notes: Rodriguez has 16 errors... The Yankees became the first team in the majors with three 10-game winners in Mike Mussina (11-3), Randy Johnson (10-7) and Wang... Bloomquist started at 2B, giving All-Star Jose Lopez a rest.


All’s calm at British Open, for now

Like a day at the beach at Royal Liverpool

AP National Writer

HOYLAKE, England — Tim Herron sauntered around the putting green in front of the Royal Liverpool clubhouse, soaking up a glorious day and marveling at what he had seen out on the course.
“They were sunbathing over there,” he said, motioning off into the distance with his club.
Sunbathing? At the British Open?
During today’s practice round at this historic course along the Irish Sea, the temperature was climbing into the 80s beneath a brilliant blue sky, with nary a cloud to be had.
There were no fearsome gusts whipping in off the water, just a refreshing breeze. Instead of bundling up in sweaters and jackets, most fans milled around the links wearing shorts and T-shirts.
If conditions stay anything close to this through the weekend, Tiger Woods’ record 19-under score while winning at St. Andrews six years ago could be in jeopardy.
“Obviously, it can be done,” said Woods, who won again at St. Andrews last year while using five more strokes. “As we all know, it all depends on the weather. We played St. Andrews in 2000 with no wind. It can spring up at any time, you just never know. But if not, the guys are going to be making plenty of birdies.”