Soriano Lifts Yankees Over Orioles

Alfonso Soriano's four-hit performance on Monday lifted the Yankees to a victory over the Baltimore Orioles, salvaging a split of the four-game weekend series. Juan Rivera scored the decisive run on a wild pitch in the seventh inning but Soriano, and the clutch pitching of Andy Pettitte, were the fuel for the Yankees as they won 5-2.

Soriano led off the bottom of the first inning with his 28th homerun of the season against Baltimore's Damian Moss. In the second Soriano doubled with two outs and Nick Johnson on first base. Johnson was thrown out at the plate keeping the Yankees to a one-run lead.

The Yankee second baseman's most important hit came in the eighth inning however. With two outs and two runners in scoring position, Soriano laced a single to left field to give the Yankees a much-needed cushion. With the added insurance Mariano Rivera converted his 28th save with no difficulty.

Moss pitched exceptionally well for the Orioles, but his team provided no support behind him at all. The Orioles actually out-hit the Yankees 11-7, but thanks to Pettitte, the birds couldn't get runs across the plate.

Pettitte ran into serious trouble in the sixth inning. With a scant 2-0 lead, the southpaw allowed four consecutive one-out singles to score a run for the Orioles and leave the bases loaded. But Pettitte bore down and got Deivi Cruz – one of the toughest hitters in the major leagues to strike out – to take a called strike three then did the same to Robert Machado to end the inning and the threat.

Pettitte (16-7) is now tied with Esteban Loaiza for second in the AL in wins. He lasted 6 2/3 innings and allowed just one run on ten hits and a walk. He struck out six batters as he won his third straight start.

Moss (1-2) was a tough luck loser, allowing just two earned runs – three total – in six innings of work. He allowed five hits and three walks while striking out just one.

Larry Bigbie cut the Yankees' lead to 3-2 in the eighth inning with a homerun off of Jeff Weaver, but Soriano's single in the eighth put the Orioles away for good.

Jason Giambi was forced to leave the game after being hit by a pitch in the bottom of the seventh. John Parrish came up and in on Giambi on a 3-0 count and hit the slugger in the hand. X-rays were negative, but Giambi may miss a game or two. Karim Garcia took over first base for the remainder of the game.

The Yankees will now play host to the Chicago White Sox as the teams meet for the first time all season. Roger Clemens (12-7, 3.59) will take the mound for New York. Loaiza (16-6, 2.71) gets the start for Chicago.

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