<
>

Johnson provides game-winning single

8/1/2003

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Nick Johnson is trying to get back in the
swing of things after missing 61 games because of a stress fracture
in his right hand.

He took a pretty good swing when it counted Thursday night.

Johnson's two-out, run-scoring single drove in the go-ahead run
as the New York Yankees beat Anaheim 2-1 in 10 innings to complete
their first three-game sweep of the Angels in eight years.

Bernie Williams and Hideki Matsui drew one-out walks off Troy
Percival (0-3) before Jorge Posada hit a fly to left. Johnson then
lined a 2-1 fastball to left-center to drive in Williams.

"I was just trying to get a ball down in the zone -- hit it hard
somewhere," said Johnson, who's 5-for-20 in six games since coming
off the disabled list last Friday. "If it's up, he throws so hard,
you don't have a chance."

Percival complained he "didn't get the calls" while pitching
to Matsui.

"I still thought I had a chance to get out of the inning after
I got Posada, but I threw a really bad pitch to Nick Johnson, and
he got me," Percival said. "I obviously wasn't very locked in on
the strike zone tonight."

The Yankees blew excellent scoring chances in the eighth and
ninth innings before Johnson came through. Anaheim pitchers issued
11 walks, but the Yankees stranded 12 runners, enabling the Angels
to stay in the game.

New York pitchers walked only two -- one intentional.

"It's frustrating -- first and third with nobody out," Yankees
manager Joe Torre said, referring to the ninth inning. "We
certainly need every close game we can get. We don't want to waste
the pitching."

The Yankees swept the Angels after losing two of three at
Boston.

"You need to be resilient," Torre said. "Good clubs are able
to recover from bad times. It was tough last weekend. Coming in
here was a good test for us."

Regarding Johnson, Torre said: "Nick's a good hitter. What
makes him a tough hitter is he doesn't try to pull the ball. Percy
is tough to hit off, I don't care if you're a lefty or a righty."

Armando Benitez (1-1) pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings for the
victory. Mariano Rivera blanked the Angels in the 10th for his 20th
save in 22 chances.

The Yankees improved to 9-3 since the All-Star break and
extended their lead to 3{ games over Boston in the AL East.

The Angels dropped to 3-12 since the break.

The Yankees hadn't swept the Angels in a three-game series since
August 1995, when they accomplished the feat at Yankee Stadium. It
was New York's first three-game sweep in Anaheim since May 1990.

In the AL division series last October, the Yankees lost their
only two games in Anaheim.

Earlier in the day, the Yankees acquired third baseman Aaron
Boone and left-handed reliever Gabe White from Cincinnati shortly
before the non-waiver trade deadline.

The Angels got a run off David Wells in the second on a single
by Shawn Wooten, a one-out double by Bengie Molina and Benji Gil's
RBI grounder.

New York tied it in the third when Dave Dellucci -- making his
Yankees debut -- drew a leadoff walk, took second on Alfonso
Soriano's grounder and scored on Derek Jeter's two-out single.
Jeter's hit was the first off Aaron Sele.

Sele allowed three hits and one run in six innings while walking
five and striking out one.

Wells gave up six hits and one run in seven-plus innings while
walking none and striking out one. He has walked only 11 in 146 2-3
innings.

Jeter walked and Jason Giambi singled off Francisco Rodriguez to
begin the New York eighth, but Brendan Donnelly relieved and
pitched out of trouble by striking out Williams and retiring Matsui
and Posada.

The Angels loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the
inning before Benitez struck out pinch-hitter Scott Spiezio and
retired Molina on a popup to second.

The Yankees threatened again in the ninth, putting runners on
first and third with nobody out, but Donnelly struck out
pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra and retired Soriano and Jeter.

Game notes
Boone is expected to join the Yankees on Friday night in
Oakland. To make room in their lineup, the Yankees traded third
baseman Robin Ventura to Los Angeles. ... Enrique Wilson made his
sixth start of the season at third base for the Yankees. ... Angels
RF Tim Salmon missed his third game because of discomfort in his
back. He said beforehand he was feeling better and hopes to return
to the lineup Friday night against Toronto. ... Eric Owens,
Salmon's replacement, made a diving catch of Posada's liner in the
second and doubled Matsui off first base. Matsui had already
rounded second when Owens made the catch. ... Williams singled in
the fourth for his 1,900th career hit.