Brown struggles in return, but Yankees rely on bats for win

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- It was fitting that when Ruben Sierra
had the go-ahead hit that finally put the New York Yankees back in
first place, he got hurt and probably will wind up back on the
disabled list.

Sierra injured his left hamstring on his two-run single in the
eighth inning that gave the Yankees a wild 11-10 victory over the
Texas Rangers on Monday night.

"He's huge because he's a wild card for you," Yankees manager
Joe Torre said. "He knows how to hit in situations. It was 3-2
there, he got an offspeed pitch, not a bad pitch, and hit it the
other way. Hopefully, it's just the two weeks."

Kevin Brown struggled in his return to the rotation and Bernie Williams dropped a ball in center field that led to three runs, but
Jorge Posada, Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui all homered before
Sierra's hit into the left-center field gap off Doug Brocail (3-2).

Sierra was limping awkwardly when he got to first base, and
didn't put any pressure on his left leg while being helped back to
the dugout.

"I feel good to get the job done, but I feel bad that I got
hurt," said Sierra, who was on the DL from April 21 to May 20 with
a partially torn right biceps. "It's sore. I don't know how long
it will be, I think it's strained. I don't think it's that bad."

New York won for the 11th time in 13 games and improved to a
season-high nine games over .500 at 50-41, good for a half-game
lead over Boston and Baltimore (both 50-42). The Yankees, whose
11-19 start was their worst since 1966, were nine games back after
play on May 7.

"I can't explain how proud I am of this group of guys. They
keep plugging away and keep battling," said Torre, who celebrated
his 65th birthday. "It's quite a credit to their desire and focus
and determination."

The Yankees, who have won seven straight division titles, had
not been alone in first since beating the Red Sox in the April 3
season opener and had not held a share since after games of April
9, when they were tied with Tampa Bay and Toronto.

"It's a stepping stone, but we've got much loftier goals on
this club," said Alex Rodriguez, who walked after Robinson's Cano
single and scored the final run.

Brown, sidelined by a back injury since June 18, gave up three
runs in the first inning but the Yankees scored six in the second
and led 9-6 in the sixth before giving up four runs.

Williams called off Matsui, who was coming over from left, and
dropped Hank Blalock's two-out fly in the sixth for an two-run
error that tied the score. Former Yankee Alfonso Soriano, who had
four hits and four RBIs, followed with a single off Wayne Franklin
that put the Rangers ahead.

"When he called Matsui off it, all of a sudden it moved on
him," Torre said. "It was an ugly thing that happened."

Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 24th straight save
conversion, the longest streak of his career within a single
season. Since blowing his first two chances of the season against
Boston, he has been perfect.

Tanyon Sturtze (3-1), the fourth Yankees pitcher, worked 2 1/3

New York went ahead with a six-run second that included Posada's
12th homer, a three-run drive that made it 4-3. Cano added an RBI
single and Sheffield had a run-scoring double off Ricardo

Sheffield's 20th homer, his fifth in seven games, came with one
out in the fourth. Alex Rodriguez drew a walk before Matsui's 15th
homer made it 9-5.

With three other starting pitchers still on the disabled list,
Brown returned to the Yankees without a rehabilitation start. He
lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up six runs and 10 hits -- two of
them homers. He struck out three and walked none, throwing 53 of 82
pitches for strikes.

"I'm stiff, I'm not functioning very well. I'm just trying to
build back up," Brown said. "I'm just trying to fill a need. It
would have been great to take my time, but there are a lot of guys
out right now."

Soriano was caught stealing for the first time this year when he
overslid second base to end the sixth after beating Posada's throw.
That was his second baserunning blunder in the game.

Soriano hit a drive in the first that ricocheted off the top of
the wall in straightaway center. But he only got a long RBI single
since he was watching the ball instead of running. He didn't
initially get to second base, even on the relay throw home to get
Blalock out, but then stole the base and scored on Kevin Mench's

"We did a lot of positive things ... It's hurtful for me
personally to see the effort they made, even the guys who didn't
necessarily do well statistically," Rangers manager Buck Showalter
said. "They made a lot of great plays in a tough environment and
were very close to succeeding."

Game notes
Rod Barajas hit his eighth homer for Texas. ... There was
an announced crowd of 46,538, many of them Yankees fans. It is New
York's only series in Texas this season. ... Brown had given up
only two other homers, in his first start this season, April 17 at