Indians take Sheffield's homer on the chin

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Gary Sheffield hit another clutch homer and
Derek Jeter learned his elbow is just bruised.

Not a bad night for the struggling New York Yankees.

Sheffield's tiebreaking, two-run shot in the ninth inning sent
the fading Cleveland Indians to their eighth straight loss, 6-4
Monday night.

The Yankees stopped a slide of their own, winning for only the
second time in eight games and snapping a three-game losing streak.

Jeter came out in the ninth after he was hit on the left elbow
by a pitch from Bob Wickman. Jeter winced in pain and let his limp
arm dangle by his side before being helped to the dugout by a

He went to the hospital for X-rays, which were negative, but not
before Sheffield homered.

"It still hurt. But it's a big win for us," Jeter said,
grinning. He returned to the clubhouse after the game, and expects to
play Tuesday night.

Enrique Wilson pinch ran for Jeter, and Sheffield followed with
his 32nd homer, just over the 19-foot high wall in left.

Manager Joe Torre marveled at Sheffield, who has been battling
shoulder problems.

"He's been incredible. The only thing that keeps you from
saying it's impossible is he keeps doing it," Torre said.

Third baseman Alex Rodriguez moved to shortstop in the bottom of
the ninth and Sheffield went from right field to third base, the
second time this year the Yankees have used that alignment after
Jeter got hurt. The other came in a 13-inning victory over Boston
when Jeter hurtled headfirst into the stands to make a clutch

"He came in and hit the home run. I said he earned the right to
play third base," Torre said of Sheffield.

Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his 42nd save in 45

New York extended its lead over Boston to 6½ games in the AL
East after the Red Sox lost 3-0 in Toronto. The Yankees had lost
six of seven, trimming their edge by five games after leading by a
season-high 10½ games on Aug. 15.

Wickman (0-1) got the first two outs in the ninth, but got hit
on the fingers by Bernie Williams' grounder. Wickman then hit Jeter
with a 1-1 sinker.

Wickman said he wasn't hurt and took the blame for the loss.

"I blew the game tonight," he said. "I let the team down and
lost the game. This was a big game to get us out of the streak."

The Indians are on their longest losing streak of the season,
falling back to .500 and eight games behind first-place Minnesota
in the AL Central.

"It's tough," manager Eric Wedge said. "We have to stay
strong as individuals and stay strong as a team. You can't let a
bad day or a bad week defeat you."

Tom Gordon (5-3) blew a lead in the eighth but still got the

Ruben Sierra's eighth-inning RBI single gave New York a 4-3
lead. But the Indians' staged a two-out rally in the bottom half.

Travis Hafner doubled to right-center and Casey Blake followed
with a first-pitch RBI single, scoring pinch-runner John McDonald.

Tony Clark put the Yankees on top 3-0 in the second with his
12th homer. But the Indians came right back in the bottom half on
Ronnie Belliard's two-run single.

Jody Gerut tied it with an RBI triple off the center-field wall
in the fourth.

Neither starter pitched well, but they kept their teams in the
game by preventing any big rallies.

Cliff Lee, who hasn't won since July 16, went six innings,
allowing three runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out four
for Cleveland.

Mike Mussina lasted just five innings in his second start since
returning from the disabled list.

He gave up three runs on four hits and three walks, striking out
six. He threw 59 pitches in two innings and finished with 94

Williams doubled off the left-field wall to open the game. Jeter
followed with an RBI single, then Sheffield walked.

But Lee struck out Rodriguez and got Jorge Posada to hit into a
double play.

Game notes
The Yankees are 32-16 at Jacobs Field since it opened 1994.
... Clark hadn't played in the previous eight games. ... Hafner
ended an 0-for-19 skid with a single in the sixth and a double in
the eighth. ... Rodriguez was 1-for-4 and is 3-for-14 in his last
four games. He failed to hit the ball out of the infield. Torre
said before the game that he's putting too much pressure on
himself. ... Indians C Victor Martinez is 0-for-14.