Baltimore (10-7) at New York (7-7)

Partly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Apr 21, 2006
  • TV: CSN, YES
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Despite enjoying a power surge on the road recently, Alex Rodriguez is happy to be returning to Yankee Stadium.

The New York Yankees and their star third baseman begin a nine-game homestand against AL East foes on Friday night when they host the Baltimore Orioles.

New York (7-7) has played 11 of its first 14 games on the road. The Yankees were eager to get back to the Bronx after a 3-1 victory at Toronto on Wednesday.

“We would love to be 9-5 or something like that,” Rodriguez said. “But we’ve been on the road for basically 14 days. We’re very excited to get home.”

Rodriguez has homered in three straight games for New York, which swept lowly Kansas City from April 11-13 in its only home series.

The reigning AL MVP is batting .462 (12-for-26) with nine RBIs in New York’s wins this season, but only .148 (4-for-27) with three RBIs in its losses.

Now that they are back home, the Yankees are looking to reel off some wins in a stretch that includes visits by Tampa Bay and Toronto. Manager Joe Torre applauded the effort of his team over the season’s first 14 games.

“It’s only 7-7 but I’m certainly satisfied with everything that’s gone on here effort wise,” Torre said.

New York went 11-7 against Baltimore last season, winning nine of the last 10 meetings. The Yankees have won six straight at home against the Orioles.

First baseman Jason Giambi hit .333 (14-for-42) with six homers and 12 RBIs last season against Baltimore.

Chien-Ming Wang (1-0, 4.08 ERA) gets the start for New York in search of a second straight victory. Wang gave up two runs and seven hits over seven innings in a 9-3 victory at Minnesota on Sunday.

“Wang was terrific,” Torre said. “He just couldn’t have been better for us than he was.”

The right-hander faced Baltimore twice in 2005, failing to record a decision and posting a 3.00 ERA.

Orioles starter Kris Benson will be back in New York for the first time since he was traded to Baltimore from the New York Mets in the offseason. There was speculation the trade was a result of Benson’s high-profile marriage to wife Anna, who tried to start an acting and modeling career while in New York.

Anna Benson, who filed for divorce before opting to try to reconcile the marriage right before this season, has been in attendance for two of her husband’s first three starts. It is unclear whether she will make the trip to New York, where she clashed with the media.

Kris Benson (1-2, 3.32) lost for the second time in as many starts at home in a 9-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. He allowed four runs and nine hits over five innings.

Benson went 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two starts against the Yankees last season for the Mets.

Baltimore (10-7) completed an impressive 5-2 homestand with a 9-4 victory over Cleveland on Thursday. The Orioles took two of three from the Indians after winning three of four against the Angels.

Miguel Tejada has spearheaded an offensive onslaught for Baltimore, going 5-for-9 with five RBIS over the last two games. The Orioles have combined for 27 runs and 33 hits in that stretch.

Baltimore second baseman Brian Roberts was outstanding against New York last season, hitting .417 (20-for-48) with five of his 18 homers and 15 RBIs.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Benson Ari vs. C. Wang Atl
11-12 Record 19-6
4.82 ERA 3.63
88 K 76
58 BB 52
1.40 WHIP 1.31