- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 22, 2008

NEW YORK - Alex Rodriguez hit two balls over the fence but was credited with only one home run, and the New York Yankees broke loose last night for an 8-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Darrell Rasner won his third straight start since he was called up from the minors, and New York banged out 13 hits while snapping a four-game skid. The Yankees had lost six of seven, scoring only 14 runs during that span.

Rodriguez’s return from the disabled list has provided an immediate boost. He homered in his first game back Tuesday night, a 12-2 loss, and finished with a home run and two doubles in this one.

The three-time MVP homered off Garrett Olson (3-1) to start the third, then hit another ball over the wall in the sixth that was incorrectly called an RBI double.

It was the latest in a string of home run calls that have been blown by big league umpires lately, including one at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night. That’s left some calling for instant replay in baseball.

This ruling didn’t end up costing the Yankees; it just left A-Rod flipping his helmet at second base and shaking his head in disbelief.

Working on 10 days’ rest, Rasner (3-0) pitched five-hit ball while setting career highs for innings (seven) and strikeouts (six). He walked one and lowered his ERA to 1.89.

Olson lasted only 2 2/3 innings, giving up six runs and eight hits. The Orioles lost for only the third time in 11 games.

Baltimore third baseman Melvin Mora left with a bruise and cut on his right ring finger after he was accidentally spiked by Hideki Matsui while trying to catch a third-inning throw from the outfield. X-rays were negative, and Mora is day-to-day.

Johnny Damon hit a two-run single, and Robinson Cano had an RBI double for New York, which built a 6-0 cushion after three and improved to 5-9 against left-handed starters this season.

The Yankees (21-25) looked more like themselves than they have in a while, working the count and aggressively taking extra bases.

Joba Chamberlain tossed two innings to complete the six-hitter, New York’s third shutout this year.

Derek Jeter played with a bruised left hand after leaving Tuesday night’s game when he was hit by a pitch. He hit an RBI groundout in a three-run second and later scored on Rodriguez’s second double, which should have been ruled a home run.

Rodriguez hit a drive that struck the yellow staircase between the fence and bleachers in right-center. The ball caromed back onto the field and was ruled in play, but Rodriguez and Yankees manager Joe Girardi protested. The umpires huddled and upheld the call, but television replays showed the ball clearing the wall.

Notes - Baltimore right fielder Nick Markakis singled twice and has reached base safely in 40 of 45 games. …

Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang went for an MRI exam. He has a mild strain of his right calf but is expected to make his next scheduled start Saturday against Seattle. …

New York third-base coach Bobby Meacham missed his second consecutive game to attend his son’s high school graduation. First base coach Tony Pena was at third again, while Mitch Seone filled in at first.

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