BALTIMORE (AP)—The list of big-name players unavailable to New York Yankees manager Joe Torre was staggering.
Returning from a two-day absence because of a hand injury, Jeter put New York ahead with an RBI single in the seventh inning, then drove in the tiebreaking run in the ninth to cap a 3-for-4 night.
“I can’t say you don’t appreciate him until you see something like that. You appreciate him all the time. He’s very special,” Torre said. “Something happens when a must-situation comes up and there he is, twice in a row.”
Andy Phillips and Jason Giambi homered for the Yankees, who finished with 12 hits. New York has at least 10 hits in nine straight games for the first time since July 1958, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
With the score 5-all in the ninth, Johnny Damon singled off Chris Ray (1-1). With two outs, Damon tried to steal second and was called out when tagged by Brian Roberts, but the second baseman was charged with an error when the ball popped from his glove.
“The guy slid, the tag was put on him,” crew chief Bruce Froemming said. “But upon the tag, the ball came out and when he brought his glove up, he didn’t have the ball. The call was changed.”
Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo came out to argue, but without much fervor.
“I didn’t see a big argument out of Brian,” Perlozzo said. “We still had to get Jeter out, and he came through.”
Jeter followed with an opposite-field single to right, assuring the Yankees their sixth win in seven games.
With Rodriguez out with a stomach ailment, Jeter batted third for the first time since Sept. 28, 2003, against Baltimore.
“I was able to play the last couple of days, (but) he gave me those days off,” Jeter said. “Fortunately, I felt pretty good today.”
Rodriguez was a late scratch, and may not be ready Saturday. But the Yankees played another game without Sheffield and Matsui, who are both on the disabled list with wrist injuries.
Rivera, the closer, was also unavailable because of a sore back, and catcher Jorge Posada was rested until being summoned as a pinch hitter in the ninth.
But the Yankees did have Jeter, who provided enough offense to enable New York to overcome the Orioles’ 13 hits.
“It was an exciting game once you look back,” Torre said, “but I don’t want to play it again.”
With the score 3-3, Baltimore’s Todd Williams struck out the first two batters in the seventh before Damon singled and Melky Cabrera walked. Jeter then bounced an RBI single up the middle, and Cabrera scored on a wild pitch by Kurt Birkins.
Baltimore tied it in the eighth. After Luis Matos hit an RBI double off former Oriole Scott Erickson, Kyle Farnsworth (2-3) entered with the bases loaded and one out. Melvin Mora hit a potential double-play grounder to Miguel Cairo, who was playing third for Rodriguez. Cairo momentarily lost control of the ball and had to throw to first as the tying run crossed the plate.
Farnsworth, who had blown two straight save chances, worked a perfect ninth.
“That’s the one thing you need to do, get right back out there, get that taste out of your mouth,” Torre said. “I know he was still struggling with it somewhat today.”
New York trailed 2-0 before Phillips homered off Kris Benson leading off the fifth.
The Yankees went up 3-2 in the sixth when Jeter walked and Giambi hit a 3-2 pitch from Benson over the right-field wall, his 15th homer of the season and third in four games.
New York starter Jaret Wright allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings. He retired 10 straight before he mishandled a bunt by Corey Patterson with two outs in the sixth. Patterson stole his AL-leading 22nd base and scored on a single by Lopez.
After a double by Nick Markakis put runners at second and third, Wright finished up by getting Matos to ground out.
The Orioles got a run in the first inning when Tejada hit a two-out single, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Hernandez.
The duo helped produce another run in the third. Tejada singled, took third on a double by Hernandez and scored on a groundout by Kevin Millar.
The Orioles put OF Jay Gibbons (hip, knee) on the 15-day disabled list after the game. … New York has held the lead in 14 straight games. … The game attracted 46,168 fans, the Orioles’ second sellout of the season. … Phillips had his fourth straight multihit game.