Hideki Matsui hit a solo shot to highlight a two-run ninth inning as the New York Yankees rallied for four runs in the 12th en route to a 6-5 victory over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.
After singling in the seventh for his first hit in three games, Matsui and pinch hitter Kenny Lofton connected for back-to-back homers off Trevor Hoffman to tie the game at 5-all, only to have San Diego lead 5-2 in the top of the 12th on three hits, a sacrifice fly and a walk.
In the bottom half, Matsui was intentionally walked to load the bases and Ruben Sierra hit a sacrifice fly for the “sayonara” winner to score Jason Giambi, who ignited the decisive frame with a two-run single.
Akinori Otsuka yielded a single to Derek Jeter to put runners on first and second with one out in the eighth, but got the next two outs on a strikeout and a groundout and improved his ERA to 1.14.
It was the Yankees’ major league-leading 26th comeback win of the season.
“It’s not something you can teach or instill. If it’s not there, you can’t create it,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “These guys like each other, pull for each other, and I think it has galvanized in these guys the way the season has gone.
“I think they are having a lot of fun.”
How could they not be?
The Yankees have won 19 of their last 27 games after trailing, and on Sunday they rallied twice to deny ex-teammate David Wells a victory in his return to New York.
In Wells’ return to Yankee Stadium, the 41-year-old left-hander allowed five hits in seven shutout innings. It was his first start against his former team since signing with the Padres during the offseason, and the cheering crowd gave him a boisterous welcome.
“It was touching, I got a little choked up,” Wells said. “I’ll always appreciate them — what they have done for me.”
Indians, 10 Reds 8
In Cleveland, Ken Griffey Jr. moved within one swing of history with his 499th career home run, but Cincinnati’s losing streak reached a season-high six games with a loss to the Indians.
Griffey connected for his 18th homer — his 10th in 21 games — in the third, pulling a 1-1 pitch from Indians starter Cliff Lee over the wall in right.
Matt Lawton hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning as the Indians — down 7-1 in the fourth — completed a three-game sweep with their third come-from-behind victory over Ohio’s NL squad.
Matt Miller (1-0) pitched the seventh for his first major league win, and Jose Jimenez worked the ninth for his fifth save in eight tries.
Giants 7, Orioles 3
In Baltimore, Barry Bonds hit his 676th homer and drove in three runs to lead San Francisco past former teammate Sidney Ponson (3-8).
Bonds’ homer gave him 500 with San Francisco, making the Giants’ franchise the first in baseball history to have three players hit 500 with the club. Willie Mays had 646 and Mel Ott hit 511.
Red Sox 4, Dodgers 1
In Boston, Pedro Martinez (7-3) pitched seven strong innings to beat the team he started his career with, and Pokey Reese hit a two-run double and made a leaping catch that saved a run.
Diamondbacks 5, Blue Jays 3
In Toronto, Randy Johnson struck out 11 and won his sixth straight start.
Johnson (9-4) is tied with the 41-year-old Clemens and 39-year-old Kenny Rogers for the most wins in the majors. It was the 196th time Johnson has struck out 10 or more. He allowed two runs in six-plus innings.
White Sox 10, Braves 3
In Chicago, Mark Buehrle (7-1) pitched eight solid innings, and Carlos Lee extended his hitting streak to 27 games.
Lee has the longest hitting streak in the majors this season, and he matched the franchise record set by Albert Belle in 1997 and Luke Appling in 1936.
Marlins 9, Tigers 2
In Detroit, Dontrelle Willis (6-3) allowed seven hits in his second complete game of the season and Juan Pierre went 4-for-5 with an inside-the-park homer, ending the Tigers’ four-game winning streak.
Devil Rays 3, Rockies 2
In St. Petersburg, Fla., Julio Lugo singled home the winning run off Shawn Chacon (0-4) in the ninth, sending Colorado to its season-worst eighth straight loss.
Cardinals 13, Rangers 2
In Arlington, Texas, Scott Rolen hit a two-run homer and an RBI double in the first two innings for St. Louis, which improved baseball’s best road record to 23-12.
Phillies 2, Twins 1
In Minneapolis, Cristian Guzman’s errant throw on a potential double-play grounder in the eighth inning allowed Placido Polanco to score the go-ahead run. Billy Wagner got his ninth save — and first since coming off the disabled list.
Mets 5, Royals 2
In Kansas City, Tom Glavine took over the major league ERA lead, and Mike Piazza backed him with a two-run homer that helped the Mets stop a five-game skid.
Glavine (7-3) lowered his ERA to 2.03, moving ahead of Clemens (2.08).
Mariners 8, Expos 1
In Seattle, Joel Pineiro ended his seven-game losing streak, and the Mariners completed their first sweep of the season.
Pineiro (2-8) won for the first time in 10 starts since April 18. The right-hander allowed only a solo homer to Terrmel Sledge in the fifth, ending a streak of 28 consecutive scoreless innings by Mariners pitchers, including 24 by their starters.
Athletics 13, Pirates 3
In Oakland, Adam Melhuse hit his first career grand slam, and Mark Kotsay went 4-for-4 in the Athletics’ eighth straight win. Oakland has the best record (81-47) in interleague play, including 18-0 against the NL Central.
Cubs 6, Angels 5 (15)
In Anaheim, Derrek Lee had a career-high five hits, and Todd Walker hit an RBI single in the 15th. Jon Leicester (1-0) earned his first major league win by tossing three scoreless innings.
Astros 5, Brewers 4
In Milwaukee, Jose Vizcaino and Jeff Kent each hit a solo homer for Houston, which salvaged the final game of the three-game series.
Astros reliever Brad Lidge tied a major league record — last accomplished by teammate Octavio Dotel on June 11, 2003 — by striking out four batters in the seventh.
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