The New York Yankees found an appropriate response to a verbal bashing from The Boss.
After owner George Steinbrenner openly questioned the desire of the richest team in baseball, the Yankees rallied from a three-run deficit Monday night in Baltimore to hand the Orioles their sixth straight defeat, 6-4.
Pinch-hitter Bernie Williams drove in the tiebreaking run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly to give New York its second straight comeback win. On Sunday night, the Yankees also trailed by three runs before beating the New York Mets.
"It's not healthy to do that. But it feels good when it's over with," New York manager Joe Torre said. "We're fighting our way back."
Before the game, Steinbrenner issued a statement expressing his dissatisfaction with the inconsistent play of his club, which started the night 38-37 and 6 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East.
"My patience is a little short by the fact that the team is not performing up to its great capabilities," Steinbrenner said. "The players have to want to win as much as I do."
New York showed its mettle by pulling out of a 4-1 hole after being held to two hits through five innings by Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera. The Yankees used a three-run sixth to pull even, then went ahead for the first time in the eighth.
It was the ninth time this season New York won after trailing by three runs. But the Yankees are in third place, and that obviously isn't good enough for Steinbrenner.
"He's the owner. He has all the right to say whatever he wants," closer Mariano Rivera said. "I take it as an inspiration."
With the score 4-all, Jorge Posada led off the eighth with a single off Steve Kline (2-3). With Jason Giambi at the plate, Kline was called for a balk by home plate umpire Marty Foster. Kline vigorously protested the call, and was ejected by Foster as Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli joined the argument, standing between Foster and the charging Kline.
"He should be upset. There was no balk there," Mazzilli said.
Third base umpire Dana DeMuth, the crew chief, said, "He started and he stopped. Once you start to take your set position, it has to be uninterrupted."
Jorge Julio then issued an intentional walk to Giambi and Posada took third on a grounder by Ruben Sierra before Williams hit a fly ball to center.
Gary Sheffield added an RBI single in the ninth.
INDIANS 7, RED SOX 0: At Boston, Kevin Millwood pitched six innings of three-hit ball, and Travis Hafner had three extra-base hits to help Cleveland snap Boston's seven-game win streak. A week after the Red Sox went to Cleveland and stopped the Indians' nine-game win streak, Millwood (3-5) allowed three hits, two walks and struck out six. Hafner started a three-run rally in the fourth with the first of his two doubles, then hit a solo homer in the seventh, one out after Grady Sizemore hit a two-run shot.
DEVIL RAYS 4, BLUE JAYS 3: At St. Petersburg, Fla., Hideo Nomo pitched seven strong innings and Aubrey Huff hit a three-run homer, leading Tampa Bay past Toronto. Nomo (5-6) allowed two runs and eight hits for just his third win in 13 starts. The victory moved Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella (1,479-1,375) within one win of tying Earl Weaver for 19th place on the career list. The Devil Rays snapped a six-game skid at home.
TWINS 3, ROYALS 1: At Minneapolis, Joe Mays pitched eight sharp innings and Minnesota sent Kansas City to its seventh straight loss. Mays (4-3) allowed six hits, struck out three and did not walk a batter for Minnesota, which won consecutive games for first time since taking three straight June 5-8. The right-hander had been winless in six starts since shutting out the Blue Jays 4-0 on May 19. Joe Nathan worked a scoreless ninth for his 19th save in 21 opportunities.
ANGELS 13, RANGERS 3: At Arlington, Texas, Bartolo Colon won his 10th straight start against Texas, and Vladimir Guerrero homered to help Los Angeles extend its winning streak to seven. Adam Kennedy hit his first homer of the season and Juan Rivera had four hits for the Angels, who have a 7 1/2-game lead in the AL West over Texas, their largest since Aug. 31, 1995. Colon (10-4) beat Texas for the ninth time since joining the Angels last season. He scattered eight hits over eight innings, improving to 15-5 lifetime against the Rangers.