BALTIMORE (AP) – For the New York Yankees, this one was worth the wait.

After enduring two rain delays totaling nearly 2 hours, the Yankees regained sole possession of first place in the AL East with an 11-3 rout of the Baltimore Orioles.

Randy Johnson (16-8) pitched six innings of shutout ball, Jason Giambi homered to cap a six-run fourth and New York got 12 hits in handing the free-falling Orioles their season-high ninth straight defeat.

The victory moved the Yankees a half-game ahead of the Boston Red Sox, whose game against Toronto was rained out.

If the Orioles keep playing as they have lately, the Yankees can expect to bring some momentum into Fenway Park this weekend.

New York has won seven straight against Baltimore, including five over an eight-day span.

Alex Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with three RBIs for the Yankees, who have won seven of eight and 13 of 15 to move a season-high 28 games over .500 (92-64). After starting the season with 19 losses in 30 games, New York is within two games of the Chicago White Sox in the race for the best record in the AL.

After stranding four runners in the first three innings, the Yankees sent 10 batters to the plate in the fourth against Rodrigo Lopez (14-12). With two outs and the bases loaded, Derek Jeter drew a walk to force in a run and Rodriguez followed with a two-run double.

That brought up Giambi, who snapped a 1-for-20 slump by hitting Lopez’s next pitch for a three-run homer to right. It was his 31st home run of the year, and first since Sept. 13.

New York added five runs in the sixth in an uprising aided by four walks and an error by third baseman Melvin Mora.

Johnson left after an effortless performance in which he yielded four hits, struck out two, walked one and allowed one runner past second base. The left-hander, who also beat Baltimore last Wednesday, is 5-0 in seven starts since Aug. 21.

Ed Rogers hit a two-run homer off Yankees reliever Alan Embree in the ninth for his first major league hit.

The start of the game was delayed by rain for 1 hour, 26 minutes. Then, after Jeter singled, Rodriguez walked and Giambi hit a fly ball, there was another rain delay of 25 minutes.

Notes: The game was a makeup of a June 29 rainout. … New York clinched at least a tie of the season series; the Yankees are 9-6 with three games left. … Baltimore fell to 19-30 under interim manager Sam Perlozzo. … The Orioles have committed at least one error in 21 of their last 35 games.

AP-ES-09-27-05 0009EDT


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