NEW YORK -- After its anemic start, the New York Yankees' offense has surged to the top. Injuries and individual slumps haven't slowed down the bats
in Bronx. After hitting six home runs Friday night in a come-from-behind 7-6 victory over the Texas Rangers, New York leads the major leagues with 301
runs and 80 homers.
"The sky's the limit for this team," said Gary Sheffield, who homered twice. "We're starting to hit our stride."
Staked to a 4-0 lead on Alfonso Soriano's three-run homer and Mark Teixeira's solo shot off Kevin Brown (7-1), Texas starter Kenny Rogers allowed five
"Five homers -- quality pitching," Rogers said sarcastically.
With its 10th win in 11 games, New York opened a season-high 3[-game lead over Boston in the AL East. Derek Jeter left in the fourth inning because of
a tight left groin, and Yankees manager Joe Torre said his captain probably wouldn't play again until Tuesday. Jeter's bat was hardly missed, and his
replacement at shortstop, Enrique Wilson, made two sparkling plays, including one that preserved the lead in the seventh inning.
"Hopefully, it's just a couple of days," Torre said.
Rogers, at 8-2 off to the best start of his career, resembled the struggling starter booed out of the Bronx in 1997 after two shaky seasons with the
Yankees. He allowed home runs to four of his final seven batters. Bernie Williams hit a two-run homer in the third, and Wilson, Alex Rodriguez and
Sheffield hit solo shots in the fourth. When Hideki Matsui hit another homer leading off the fifth, Texas manager Buck Showalter ran to the mound to
take out Rogers, given a mix of boos and cheers when he walked off.
Rogers is 0-7 with a 9.21 ERA in 11 starts against the Yankees since August 1993 after beginning his career 5-0 against them.
"I'd like to beat them before I die," Rogers said, "hang around long enough to get them once."
Sheffield broke a 6-all tie in the sixth with a solo shot off Jay Powell (1-1). It gave the Yankees their 16th six-homer game, only their fourth at
Yankee Stadium. Because he had the stomach flu, Sheffield told Torre before the game that he couldn't play the outfield, and the manager moved him to
designated hitter. Sheffield felt dizzy when running but was locked in at the plate, so much so that Torre said he looked "like somebody
Sheffield, among several Yankees who started slowly, was congratulated by special adviser Reggie Jackson.
"A little late, but you finally got here," the Hall of Famer said.
New York, 26-8 following its 8-11 start, has scored five or more runs in 11 consecutive games for the first time since doing it in 15 straight in
1985. New York also has won five times when trailing by four or more runs after not doing it at all last year. Rodriguez was impressed with the power
"It's not like we were in a band box," he said.
Soriano came up to the Yankees in 1999 and quickly became a star, then was dealt to Texas in February for Rodriguez. When he batted in the first
inning, he was given a standing ovation as he walked to the plate. And when he went to second base in the bottom of the inning, the Bleacher Creatures
chanted his name until Soriano raised his arm in acknowledgment.
"They know what I did here the last three years," he said.