Yanks rally from three-run deficit

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The New York Yankees found an appropriate response to a verbal bashing from The Boss.

After owner George Steinbrenner openly questioned the desire of the richest team in baseball, the Yankees rallied from a three-run deficit Monday night to hand the Baltimore Orioles their sixth straight defeat, 6-4.

Pinch-hitter Bernie Williams drove in the tiebreaking run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly to give New York its second straight comeback win. On Sunday night, the Yankees also trailed by three runs before beating the Mets.

"It's not healthy to do that. But it feels good when it's over with," New York manager Joe Torre said. "We're fighting our way back."

Before the game, Steinbrenner issued a statement expressing his dissatisfaction with the inconsistent play of his club, which started the night 38-37 and 6 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East.

"My patience is a little short by the fact that the team is not performing up to its great capabilities," Steinbrenner said. "The players have to want to win as much as I do."

New York showed its mettle by pulling out of a 4-1 hole after being held to two hits through five innings by Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera. The Yankees used a three-run sixth to pull even and then went ahead for the first time in the eighth.

It was the ninth time this season New York won after trailing by three runs. But the Yankees are in third place, and that obviously isn't good enough for Steinbrenner.

"He's the owner. He has all the right to say whatever he wants," closer Mariano Rivera said. "I take it as an inspiration. I take it as a challenge."

With the score 4-all, Jorge Posada led off the eighth with a single off Steve Kline (2-3). With Jason Giambi at the plate, Kline was called for a balk by home plate umpire Marty Foster. Kline vigorously protested the call and was ejected by Foster as Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli joined the argument, standing between Foster and the charging Kline.

"He should be upset. There was no balk there," Mazzilli said.

Third base umpire Dana DeMuth, the crew chief, said, "He started and he stopped. Once you start to take your set position, it has to be uninterrupted."

Jorge Julio then issued an intentional walk to Giambi and Posada took third on a grounder by Ruben Sierra before Williams hit a fly ball to center.

Gary Sheffield added an RBI single in the ninth.

Tanyon Sturtze (2-1) pitched the seventh, Tom Gordon worked the eighth and Rivera got three outs for his 17th save.

Larry Bigbie went 3-for-4 with a homer for the Orioles, whose six-game skid is a season-high.

"It's disappointing, just because we want to get out of this funk and get to winning again," Bigbie said. "We had a chance to win the game and just weren't able to pull it off."

Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro went 2-for-2 with two walks, moving within 11 hits of becoming fourth player in major-league history with 3,000 hits and 500 homers. His fourth-inning single thrust him past Sam Rice into sole possession of 26th place on the career hits list.

Down 4-1, the Yankees tied it in the sixth. After Sierra hit a two-out RBI single, Cabrera walked pinch-hitter Tino Martinez to load the bases. Rookie Chris Ray then walked Derek Jeter to force in a run, and a passed ball by Sal Fasano let in the tying run.

Bigbie's third homer put Baltimore up 1-0 in the third, and New York pulled even in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Sierra.

The Orioles regained the lead in the bottom half. Jay Gibbons
hit a two-out single, moved up on a balk by Carl Pavano and came home on a single by Chris Gomez.

Baltimore made it 4-1 in the fifth. After Bigbie hit a leadoff double, Brian Roberts hit a liner to left that Hideki Matsui
appeared to misjudge, coming in before breaking back on a ball that bounced off the wall for an RBI double. Matsui was playing in the outfield for the first time in 14 games after being used exclusively as a designated hitter because of a tender ankle.

Luis Matos then bunted Roberts to third, and Miguel Tejada
followed with a sacrifice fly.

Game notes
New York's Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts, ending his 10-game hitting streak. ... Baltimore played a sixth straight game without third baseman Melvin Mora (hamstring). ... The Orioles have eight balks this season. ... Pavano remained winless in June and allowed his 17th homer -- one more than his 2004 total.