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Lieber Excels in Debut With Yankees

May 02, 2004|From Associated Press

Willie Randolph and Mel Stottlemyre enjoyed their day as co-managers of the New York Yankees.

After all, Ruben Sierra and Jon Lieber made it an easy afternoon.

Sierra homered twice and drove in seven runs, and Lieber looked great in his long-awaited Yankee debut, leading New York over the Kansas City Royals, 12-4, Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees have won a season-high five in a row after a four-game skid.

Their latest victory came without Manager Joe Torre, who was attending his daughter's Holy Communion ceremony. Randolph, the team's bench coach, and Stottlemyre, the pitching coach, ran the team.

Sierra hit a three-run shot against Eduardo Villacis in the third inning and a grand slam against Curtis Leskanic in the eighth. The seventh grand slam of his career landed in the upper deck in right field. He was robbed of two runs batted in when center fielder Carlos Beltran made a diving catch in the sixth.

A 20-game winner with the Chicago Cubs in 2001, Lieber made his first major league appearance since Aug. 1, 2002. He didn't pitch last year after having ligament surgery on his right elbow and began this season on the disabled list because of a strained right groin.

Working quickly and wearing Roger Clemens' old No. 22, Lieber retired 15 of 16 batters during one stretch. Handed a 5-1 lead in the third inning, he got 13 groundball outs and pitched into the eighth.

"I feel like I got a second chance right now, and I just want to make the most of it. It's just been a long road. I just want to give back as much as I can," Lieber said. "It's an honor just to be a part of this team."

It was a big boost for the surging Yankees, counting on Lieber to be a reliable fifth starter.

The right-hander gave up three runs and five hits in seven-plus innings. He struck out three, walked none and threw 69 of his 91 pitches for strikes.

The Royals got shortstop Angel Berroa and slugger Juan Gonzalez back, but lost for the 13th time in 16 games. They dropped to 1-9 on the road and 7-15 overall, last in the Central Division.

Oakland 6, Tampa Bay 5 -- Erubiel Durazo hit the second grand slam of his career, with two out in the ninth inning, and the Athletics held on at St. Petersburg, Fla.

Durazo's shot against Trever Miller that made it 6-1 was his third homer in the last two games. He had two two-run homers in Oakland's 4-2 win over the Devil Rays on Friday.

In the bottom half, the Devil Rays scored four times against Jim Mecir behind Carl Crawford's two-run triple -- his second triple of the game -- and Jose Cruz Jr.'s two-run homer.

Chicago 4-6, Toronto 3-10 -- Frank Catalanotto tied an American League record with six hits, and Eric Hinske and Orlando Hudson homered to give the Blue Jays a split of the doubleheader at Chicago.

The White Sox won the first game on Joe Crede's sacrifice fly in the the 10th inning.

Catalanotto was a career-best six for six -- five singles and a double -- and fell one hit short of the major league record for a nine-inning game, accomplished by Pittsburgh's Rennie Stennet on Sept. 16, 1975.

Shawn Green was the last player to have six hits in a nine-inning game. He did it May 23, 2002, for the Dodgers in Milwaukee as part of his four-homer game.

Detroit 4, Seattle 2 -- Jeremy Bonderman (3-1) gave up two runs in 7 2/3 innings at Detroit and the Tigers handed the Mariners their eighth loss in 10 games.

Bonderman, who was 6-19 last season as a 20-year-old rookie, gave up six hits and didn't walk a batter, helping the Tigers to only their second win in six games.

Texas 4-8, Boston 3-5 -- Pedro Martinez plans to test the free-agent market after this season. The three-time Cy Young winner won't be very attractive to anybody pitching the way he did at Arlington, Texas.

Martinez had his shortest outing this season for Boston, giving up six runs in four innings, and the Rangers completed a sweep of the doubleheader.

In the first game, Texas ended a streak of 32 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings by Boston's bullpen with a three-run seventh to win.

The Rangers, the best hitting team in the majors and the West Division leader, batted around in a four-run third. They added a run in the fourth to take a 6-1 lead before Martinez (3-2) was replaced by Leonard DiNardo to start the fifth.

Cleveland 3, Baltimore 2 -- Coco Crisp was mired in a two-for-18 slump and hadn't done much to garner much playing time lately.

Crisp, who entered the game at Cleveland in the 11th inning as a pinch-runner, hit a game-winning single with one out in the 13th.

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