BALTIMORE – The Boss spoke, and the New York Yankees responded.

Pinch-hitter Bernie Williams drove in the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning, and the Yankees rallied from a three-run deficit Monday night to hand the Baltimore Orioles their sixth straight defeat, 6-4.

Before the game, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner issued a statement expressing his dissatisfaction with the inconsistent play of his high-priced 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, then went ahead for the first time in eighth.

It was the ninth time this season New York has won after trailing by three runs. On Sunday night, the Yankees rallied from a 4-1 deficit to beat the Mets.

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.

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 Mariano 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.

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 against Pavano 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.

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 3B Melvin Mora (hamstring). … The Orioles have eight balks this season.

AP-ES-06-27-05 2223EDT


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