Yankees 18, Orioles 5

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BALTIMORE (AP)—No longer is there any doubt about the ability of the star-studded New York Yankees to bury their opponents under a barrage of hits and runs.

After starting the season losing 11 of 20 games, the Yankees have hit their stride, and just about everyone is contributing.

Alex Rodriguez homered and Hideki Matsui had two hits during an eight-run fifth inning, and New York hammered the Baltimore Orioles 18-5 Thursday night to complete a three-game sweep.

Enrique Wilson homered and drove in four runs, and Tony Clark also had four RBIs for the Yankees, who outscored the Orioles 41-17 in the series.

“We were getting blamed for not getting the big hits,” said Rodriguez, whose homer put New York ahead for good.

There were plenty of stars in this one, including Derek Jeter, who had his second straight three-hit game, and Matsui, who went 3-for-3 and scored four runs.

“I think the guy who’s under the radar screen is Hideki Matsui, with some unbelievable grinding at-bats,” Rodriguez said.

It was only the fourth time in franchise history that New York scored as many as 41 runs in a three-game series. The Yankees reached season highs in runs and hits (21) in the finale.

“We expected some production when the season started,” manager Joe Torre said. “As it turned out, when we started the season we had trouble scoring runs. This is what we’re capable of doing. Not 18, but we can beat up on some people.”

The devastation took place at the expense of former Yankees first base coach Lee Mazzilli, now a rookie manager with Baltimore.

“It’s your former team, but regardless of who you play, you want to win and you want to play well,” Mazzilli said. “We just didn’t do that.”

Miguel Tejada, Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Leon homered for the Orioles, who have lost seven straight.

“We’ll handle it. It’s just a bump in the road you have to overcome,” said Mazzilli, who met with the team before the game in an effort to keep the players upbeat. “It’s not easy to swallow, but it’s not the whole season.”

New York trailed 3-0 before getting nine hits in its most productive inning of the season. The last time the Yankees scored as many as eight runs in an inning was May 8, 2003, when they put up 10 at Seattle.

New York also scored six in the seventh, three in the eighth and capped the barrage with a run in the ninth.

“We have a lot of guys who can beat you,” Jeter said. “We can score a lot of runs that way.”

The Yankees had 51 hits in the series and batted .411. Jeter, who came to Baltimore batting .190, added 21 points by going 7-for-15.

Jose Contreras (2-2) allowed three runs and eight hits in six-plus innings to earn his first win since April 28.

Sidney Ponson (3-5) limited the Yankees to two hits through four innings and retired eight straight before it all came apart in the fifth, when New York sent 12 players to the plate and got seven consecutive two-out hits.

A sacrifice fly by Wilson left a runner on first with two outs. Kenny Lofton then singled, Jeter doubled in two runs and Rodriguez hit his 12th home run for a 5-3 lead.

Gary Sheffield and Jorge Posada followed with singles before Matsui, who started the inning with a single, chased Ponson with a two-run double.

Bernie Williams greeted Mike DeJean with an RBI single before the onslaught ended with a strikeout by Clark.

“Ponson had real good stuff. We didn’t get anything the first four innings, and all of a sudden with two outs we break through,” Torre said.

Matsui and Miguel Cairo hit RBI singles, Clark doubled in two runs and Wilson homered with one aboard in the seventh.

Contreras retired eight straight before Melvin Mora laid down a perfect bunt with two outs in the third. Tejada then hit his sixth homer, and Palmeirofollowed with a shot to right.


The Yankees scored 41 runs in three games against Colorado in 2002. … It’s the first time since 2002 that the Yankees scored in double digits in three straight games. … Orioles starters had a 9.88 ERA in the series. … The 41 runs allowed was the most allowed at home by Baltimore in a three-game series. … After the game, Baltimore optioned RHP Denny Bautista to Double-ABowie and called up RHP Eddy Rodriguez from Triple-A Ottawa.

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