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Damon Gets Yankees Started in 7-5 Victory

May 24, 2006|From the Associated Press

The last time Johnny Damon homered to lead off the top of the first inning he was helping the Red Sox clinch a championship.

On Tuesday night, he did it at Boston, sending the New York Yankees on their way to a 7-5 victory over the Red Sox.

"I've hit some home runs in this park," he said nonchalantly. "Plan to hit more in the future."

Damon has 17 leadoff homers in his career, his most recent coming Aug. 29 for the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The last time he hit one on the road -- as the first batter in the game -- was in St. Louis for Game 4 of the 2004 World Series, which Boston won to end its 86-year title drought.

"Johnny is that kind of player. We've seen it against us so many times," Yankees Manager Joe Torre said. "He's a terrific presence in our dugout and our clubhouse. Not [just] on the home run, but he put us in position to score more runs, too."

Damon poked one around Pesky's Pole in the first to stake Jaret Wright (2-3) to an early lead, and Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run shot to put the Yankees ahead, 7-1, and chase Tim Wakefield (3-6). Manny Ramirez hit a three-run homer for Boston to narrow the gap before Mariano Rivera got five outs for his ninth save.

Wright pitched five shutout innings, giving up four hits and leaving with a 3-0 lead when he tweaked his groin on a grounder back to the mound.

"He wasn't asking to go back out there, he was demanding to go out there ... We just basically shut him down," Torre said. "We're hopeful that he won't miss any starts or anything."

Wakefield gave up six earned runs on six hits and five walks, striking out five in 6 2/3 innings. The Yankees scored an unearned run in the sixth when Doug Mirabelli had three passed balls that allowed Rodriguez to reach base, take second and, after advancing to third on a fielder's choice, score.

Baltimore 14, Seattle 4 -- Ramon Hernandez hit a grand slam and a three-run homer at Seattle, and the Orioles broke loose for nine runs in the ninth inning to beat the Mariners and end a nine-game road losing streak.

Chicago 9, Oakland 3 -- Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye hit consecutive homers in the first inning, and Jim Thome also connected with his league-leading 18th homer to power the White Sox to victory at Chicago.

Detroit 8, Kansas City 5 -- Curtis Granderson's double keyed a four-run eighth inning and lifted the Tigers to victory at Kansas City, Mo. The Royals have lost 11 in a row.

Toronto 4, Tampa Bay 1 -- Roy Halladay won his fifth decision in a row and B.J. Ryan got his 11th save for the host Blue Jays. Halladay (6-1) hasn't lost since skipping a start in mid-April because of a strained right forearm.

Minnesota 6, Cleveland 5 -- Justin Morneau's sacrifice fly in the 10th inning lifted the host Twins to its their first win over the Indians in seven games.

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