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Mazzilli 0-6 against former boss Torre

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Yankees are beginning to realize
just how good they are.

Gary Sheffield snapped a seventh-inning tie with a two-out
double, and Javier Vazquez pitched New York to a 5-2 victory
Thursday for another sweep of the Baltimore Orioles.

Alex Rodriguez drove in a run and scored for the surging
Yankees, who have won nine of 10 to open a season-high 2{-game lead
over Boston in the AL East.

"We just feel like we can win every ballgame," Sheffield said.
"Somebody is going to get the big hit."

The Yankees own the Orioles, winning eight straight meetings
dating to last season and 45 of their past 62 games against
Baltimore.

Javy Lopez homered for the Orioles, but rookie manager Lee
Mazzilli remained winless in six games against former boss Joe
Torre. The Yankees have outscored Baltimore 59-31 this year,
including a three-game sweep last week at Camden Yards.

"They're still better than us," Rafael Palmeiro said.

Miguel Cairo singled leading off the seventh against John
Parrish (3-2). Derek Jeter was hit by a pitch one out later, and
Sheffield's two-run double into the right-field corner off B.J.
Ryan gave New York a 4-2 lead.

"This is the best I've felt all year," said Sheffield, hitting
.289 with six homers and 33 RBI. "This is the game you want the
most out of the whole series. The third one is the hardest."

Hideki Matsui added an RBI single, a one-hop smash off
Palmeiro's arm at first base.

Vazquez (6-4) won his third straight start, allowing two runs
and five hits in seven innings. Tom Gordon pitched a hitless eighth
before Mariano Rivera got three straight outs for his 21st save in
22 chances and third of the series.

The Yankees have the best record in the majors at 33-19.

"I think the one thing that separates us now, you know, the big
walks, the good at-bats, grinding it out. That takes its toll,"
Rodriguez said.

Jeter went 0-for-2. He had driven in at least one run in nine
consecutive games, the longest run by a Yankee since Don Mattingly
also went nine games in 1987.

"I'm not going to break any RBI records so it doesn't matter to
me. We won the game," Jeter said. "The last three or four weeks I
think we've been playing outstanding."

Bubba Crosby led off the first with a single and scored on
Rodriguez's single.

In the second, Lopez hit his seventh homer over the retired
numbers in left-center.

The key sequence came in the fourth, after the Orioles loaded
the bases with none out on three straight singles. Vazquez hit
Lopez with a 2-2 pitch, forcing in a run, and pitching coach Mel
Stottlemyre came out to calm the right-hander.

"He was as upset as I've seen him all year. He was very upset
at himself," Stottlemyre said. "We all lose it momentarily at
times. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't any carry-over."

Not at all. Vazquez escaped further damage when B.J. Surhoff
popped out, Luis Matos struck out and Larry Bigbie grounded out.

"When I'm in a jam I just try to concentrate on the hitter, not
on the men I have on base," Vazquez said. "It was a huge inning
for me."

The Orioles knew they missed their chance -- and they didn't get
another hit the rest of the way.

"Big moment in the game was right there. Not anything else that
happened after," Palmeiro said. "In that inning, we had them up
against the ropes."

New York tied it at 2 in the sixth when Rodriguez led off with a
double and scored on Ruben Sierra's high-chop double over
Palmeiro.

Game notes
Making his fifth major league start, Baltimore's Daniel
Cabrera allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. ... Melvin
Mora made a bad baserunning mistake with two outs in the first when
he tried to sneak from second to third while cleanup hitter
Palmeiro was at the plate. Rodriguez scrambled over to the bag, and
Vazquez alertly stepped off the rubber and threw out Mora. ...
Sheffield (sore knees) was New York's DH for the second time. ...
Rodriguez has reached base safely in a career-high 41 consecutive
games, the longest streak in the majors this season and the longest
by a Yankee since Bernie Williams' 42-game run in 2001. ... It was
New York's 22nd come-from-behind win.