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Soriano ends 1-for-20 slump with leadoff homer

5/16/2003

NEW YORK (AP) -- Alfonso Soriano, Todd Zeile and the New York
Yankees gave Arturo Moreno a rough reception Thursday night.

Earlier in the day, Moreno's purchase of the Anaheim Angels for
$184 million was approved by baseball owners. He then hustled up to
Yankee Stadium to meet manager Mike Scioscia for the first time.

Moreno had just settled into his box seat next to the Anaheim
dugout when the slumping Soriano hit a leadoff home run, propelling
the Yankees to a 10-4 victory.

"We're in the business of trying to play hard and win every
day. He knows that," Scioscia said.

The Yankees also were eager to win, having tied a season high
with three straight losses. They romped in the highest-scoring game
against the World Series champion Angels this year.

"You get a little more amped up," winning pitcher Jeff Weaver
said. "I think we all knew we had to come up with a rush."

Soriano provided it, connecting on Aaron Sele's second pitch.
The Yankees star came into the game in a 1-for-20 slump.

The day before, Soriano's father died of a brain hemorrhage.
Soriano said he was not real close with his father, and decided to
play.

"I felt better today. I tried to put those things away and
focus on the game," he said. "When I hit a homer, I wake up the
team and I wake up myself, too."

Zeile, a last-minute replacement, hit a home run, delivered a
bizarre single and made a tumbling catch.

Zeile played in place of Nick Johnson, pulled because of a sore
right hand. Zeile had two hits, scored two runs and drove in two.
With Johnson's status uncertain, the Yankees might need to count on
Zeile.

"I'll just come to the park tomorrow and be ready to play," he
said.

Derek Jeter doubled twice, Bernie Williams hit a pair of RBI
singles and Raul Mondesi scored two runs as the Yankees took a 10-1
lead after four innings.

The Yankees' mini-skid matched their longest of the year, and
they had lost four in a row at home and seven of 10 overall. But
the early run support made it easy for Weaver (3-2), and prevented
Anaheim from completing its first three-game sweep against New York
since doing it on the road in 1999.

Sele (1-1) once again ran into trouble versus the Yankees. He's
0-5 against them in the postseason, and last Aug. 20 had a poor
outing at Yankee Stadium that landed him on the disabled list the
next day with a partially torn right rotator cuff.

Sele made his first start of the season for the Angels last
week, holding Texas to two hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings.
Facing the Yankees, Sele never had a chance.

"We'll look at going back to basics, Pitching 101 stuff," he
said.

After Soriano homered, Jeter followed with a double, and
Williams and Jorge Posada added RBI singles.

In the second, Mondesi drew a leadoff walk and was running when
the Angels pitched out. But Zeile alertly reached across the plate
and slapped a hit-and-run single to right, setting up Soriano's
sacrifice fly and another RBI single by Williams.

"I don't know if I've seen that before," Sele said. "That's
how bad my fastball command was."

Said Zeile: "I was just telling myself to wait as long as I
could."

Mondesi doubled with two outs in the third and Zeile homered.
After Soriano tripled, Sele was relieved and Jeter hit an RBI
double off Scot Shields.

Zeile also made the play of the game, falling into a camera bay
to catch Brad Fullmer's pop in the sixth. The grab drew big smiles
from Posada and Weaver, and came in Zeile's first start at first
base this year.

Weaver allowed two earned runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Jeff DaVanon homered leading off the seventh, the first home run
permitted by Weaver in 52 innings this season.

Game notes
Zeile's homer was his 237th, tying Gus Zernial for the most
ever by a player whose last name begins with "Z." ... Tim Salmon
drew his 866th career walk for the Angels, tying Brian Downing's
franchise record. ... Anaheim's Scott Spiezio walked three times
and was hit by a pitch. He's reached base in nine straight plate
appearances. He came into the series in an 0-for-24 slump. ...
DaVanon tied a career high with three hits. ... Soriano has four
leadoff homers this year and 12 in his career. ... Yankees reliever
Steve Karsay, out all season because of an injured right shoulder,
had a "setback" during his rehabilitation, general manager Brian
Cashman said. The Yankees had hoped to have him back by mid-June,
but now there's no telling whether he'll pitch this season. "Until
we get him here, that's always a possibility," Cashman said.

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