Sierra Swings Yankees Past Orioles

Ruben Sierra hit a go-ahead three-run homerun in the seventh inning to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead over the Baltimore Orioles. Despite some ugly defense and less-than-stellar pitching, the Yankees held on to beat the Orioles by a final score of 6-5 and push their win streak to eight straight games.

Andy Pettitte (9-6) didn't have his best stuff, and allowed ten hits over the course of six innings. But the Yankees didn't have any defense either, committing four errors to tie a season high and allow a pair of unearned runs to score.

All told, Sierra's homerun made a winner out of Pettitte, who allowed four runs – three earned – on ten hits and three walks while striking out two. The two strikeouts were the least he had in at least a five-inning performance since April 8, when he struck out two in 5 2/3 innings.

Deivi Cruz's two-run homerun in the bottom of the fourth inning put Baltimore ahead 4-1 behind starting pitcher Sidney Ponson. But in the top of the fifth, Karim Garcia hit his first homerun as a Yankee, and first since he hit two homers against the White Sox on April 21. Garcia's shot brought the Yankees back to within one run of the Orioles.

Since joining the Yankees, Garcia is hitting .500 (5/10) in three games.

The Orioles scored an unearned run against Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning and had the tying run at third, but Rivera got Cruz to ground out to second to end the game. It was Rivera's 15th save of the year, and his sixth in just eight days.

Ponson (10-5) took the loss, pitching six innings and allowing five runs on ten hits and two walks while striking out six. He was lifted in the seventh after allowing Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi to reach base with no outs. That's when B.J. Ryan came on and allowed the homerun to Sierra.

Game two of the three-game series is on Tuesday at 7:05 pm. Mike Mussina (10-4, 2.95) will take the hill against the team he came up with in 1991. He will be opposed by 2002 Rookie Of The Year candidate, Rodrigo Lopez (1-4, 7.63).

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