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Hernandez, Yankees Clamp Down Again

April 07, 2002|From Associated Press

No wonder the rest of baseball is scared of the New York Yankees: Their starting pitchers have stopped giving up runs.

Orlando Hernandez, not even guaranteed a starting spot at the start of spring training, became the latest pitcher to make shutout ball seem routine. El Duque gave up one hit in eight innings, Ron Coomer homered in his first at-bat with the Yankees and New York defeated Wilson Alvarez in his return from a two-season layoff, topping the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 3-0, Saturday in New York.

"He was the El Duque of old," Jason Giambi said.

Since Roger Clemens was hit hard after taking a shot off his pitching hand on opening day, starters David Wells, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and Hernandez have combined for 281/3 shutout innings. The four-time defending American League champions have won four in a row since losing their opener, taking sole possession of first in the AL East. They have three shutouts--one-third of their 2001 total.

"We feel pitching is our strong point, but what we've done we can't expect to happen all the time," said Yankee Manager Joe Torre, who got his 1,480th career victory and tied Earl Weaver for 18th on the career list.

Giambi went 0 for 1 with two walks and a hit by pitch, dropping to two for 17 (.118) with no RBIs, but he did stir fans with a foul upper-deck drive in the first. Unlike Friday, the fans at Yankee Stadium didn't boo. Instead, they chanted "Let's go, Jason!" when he batted against Doug Creek, who hit him near the right shoulder blade in the seventh.

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Boston 4, Baltimore 2--Nomar Garciaparra hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning at Baltimore to ruin a fine pitching performance by Scott Erickson and lift the Red Sox.

Erickson (1-1) blanked the Red Sox through six innings and gave up one run through seven. But with score tied at 1-1, the right-hander ran into trouble in the eighth after retiring the first two batters.

Rickey Henderson and Johnny Damon singled. Garciaparra followed with a liner to left that was gloved by a leaping Melvin Mora, but the ball fell into the seats after his mitt hit the top of the seven-foot wall.

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Oakland 8, Seattle 3--Mark Mulder pitched into the seventh inning for his second victory, and Frank Menechino's tiebreaking homer lifted the Athletics to the victory at Seattle.

Miguel Tejada and Jeremy Giambi also homered off Freddy Garcia as Oakland handed the Mariners their first loss since opening day.

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Chicago 14, Kansas City 0--Magglio Ordonez had three hits, a homer, four runs and three RBIs and Paul Konerko also drove in three runs at Kansas City, Mo., as the White Sox posted their biggest shutout victory in 15 seasons.

Mark Buehrle (2-0) pitched six shutout innings and raised his career record to 5-0 against Kansas City as the White Sox had their most lopsided shutout since a 17-0 victory at Cleveland in 1987.

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Cleveland 5, Detroit 3--Ellis Burks drove in two runs, Brady Anderson homered and Bartolo Colon was solid as the Indians won at Detroit.

The Tigers (0-5) are baseball's lone winless team and are off to their worst start since losing the first six games in 1992.

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Minnesota 7, Toronto 5--Jacque Jones hit his third home run and Doug Mientkiewicz and Jay Canizaro each had two RBIs as the Twins won at Toronto.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched 12/3 scoreless innings for the victory. Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his fourth save in as many chances.

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