New York 6, Baltimore 4

BALTIMORE (AP) -- His struggle had become so profound that Aaron
Boone felt compelled to express his anguish to New York manager Joe
Torre after a fifth-inning strikeout.

So when he came to the plate in the ninth inning Friday night
with two runners on and the Yankees down 3-2, Boone was desperate
to break out of his perplexing slump.

He did, in far from routine fashion, hitting a disputed
three-run homer that gave New York a bizarre 6-4 victory over the
Baltimore Orioles.

"It's nice to finally contribute a little offensively," said
Boone, whose home run ended his 6-for-51 run since the Yankees
acquired him from Cincinnati on July 31.

Boone's drive to left was initially called foul by third base
umpire Jeff Nelson. After Boone came running across the field to
protest and Yankees manager Joe Torre joined the argument, the
umpires huddled and reversed the call.

Orioles manager Mike Hargrove then came out to argue, and was
ejected from the game. Hargrove tossed his hat and a rectangular
bat weight on the infield grass as he walked off the field.

Replays seemed to indicate the ball traveled well inside the
foul pole.

"Their job is get the call right, and they felt that they
did," Hargrove said. "It's just a little tough to take."

Earlier, after striking out with two runners on in the fifth,
Boone walked up to Torre in the dugout.

"I told him, 'Sorry, Skip. I'm embarrassed," Boone said.

But the ending couldn't have been sweeter.

"This is a guy who needs an opportunity to win a game," Torre
said. "You don't trade for a third baseman for his glove."

After Boone connected against Jorge Julio (0-5), Alfonso Soriano
added a solo shot for a 6-3 lead.

Jeff Nelson (4-2) got the victory despite giving up a
tiebreaking RBI double to Larry Bigbie in the eighth.

The Orioles threatened again in the ninth. Jack Cust led off
with a homer off Mariano Rivera to make it 6-4 and Baltimore had
the tying runs in scoring position with Jay Gibbons up and two out.

Gibbons hit a tapper back to the mound, however, and Rivera
picked up his 25th save.

Bernie Williams also homered for the Yankees, who stranded 16.

"That's the only stat I wish they'd take off the board," Torre

Bigbie had two hits for the Orioles, who have lost five
straight. Baltimore has dropped 12 of its last 14 games against New
York, dating back to last year.

A shoddy performance by the New York bullpen denied Roger
Clemens his 305th career victory, which would have tied him with
Hall of Famer Eddie Plank for 18th place on the career list.

Clemens blanked the Orioles on three hits through six innings,
but Baltimore closed to 2-1 in the seventh when Bigbie reached on
an infield hit and scored on a two-out double by Brook Fordyce.

Torre lifted Clemens in the eighth after the right-hander struck
out leadoff hitter Luis Matos. Jesse Orosco then gave up a double
to B.J. Surhoff and an RBI single to Gibbons.

Nelson came in and retired Tony Batista on a fly ball, but
Bigbie doubled to right-center to score Gibbons and give Baltimore
its first lead.

It wouldn't last.

Clemens outpitched Orioles starter Jason Johnson, who gave up
two runs and seven hits in seven innings. Even though Johnson has a
respectable 3.75 ERA in 11 career games against the Yankees, he's

Williams gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the
third inning, but New York missed several opportunities to blow the
game open.

The Yankees got at least one hit in each of the first five
innings, and Johnson also issued five walks and hit a batter. But
New York stranded 10 runners and went 0-for-9 with runners in
scoring position over that span.

Game notes
New York's Hideki Matsui recorded his first major league
steal in the third inning. ... The Orioles designated RHP Rick
Helling for assignment and purchased the contract of LHP John
Parrish, who struck out Williams with the bases loaded in the
eighth. ... New York RHP Antonio Osuna was reinstated from the
bereavement list. RHP Bret Prinz was optioned to Triple-A Columbus
to make room for Osuna. ... The game drew 47,850, the fourth
sellout of the season at Camden Yards. ... Williams has 23 homers
against Baltimore, including 11 at Camden Yards.