Yankees Have an Answer

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From Associated Press

Joe Torre made it clear he expects his New York Yankees to play with more heart.

They got the message.

One day after getting no-hit for the first time in 45 years, the Yankees bounced back against the same Houston bullpen that shut them down. Alfonso Soriano hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning, and New York took advantage of a big error by Jeff Bagwell to rally past the Astros, 6-5, Thursday.

“It was very important to win the game today,” Soriano said. “Everybody knows the Yankees fight until the end.”

Torre held a team meeting after Wednesday night’s 8-0 loss, and the Yankees responded by showing some championship grit.


“I wouldn’t say it was a must win, but when Joe was as vocal as he was last night, everyone wanted to step it up a notch today,” catcher John Flaherty said. “The tone was set last night after the game. If you didn’t wake up today to play, there’s something wrong with you.”

New York took two of three in the first series between the teams. Roger Clemens makes his fourth bid for his 300th victory tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals -- he has been stuck at 299 for three weeks.

Houston took a 5-3 lead in the sixth on Adam Everett’s two-run double off David Wells. But this time, the Yankees were able to get some big hits against the bullpen.

Juan Rivera’s RBI single off Kirk Saarloos, who got four outs Wednesday night, cut it to 5-4 in the sixth. Raul Mondesi singled off Brad Lidge, who threw two innings in the no-hitter, with two out in the seventh to tie it at 5-5.

“I thought the intensity level was a lot better today,” shortstop Derek Jeter said. “Hopefully, when the season’s over with we can look back and say this was the turning point.”

Hideki Matsui led off the eighth with a dribbler to first, but Bagwell stumbled and booted the ball.


A single by pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra and a walk to pinch-hitter Jorge Posada loaded the bases for Soriano, who looped a go-ahead single to right off Octavio Dotel (5-2).

The Yankees won for the first time this season when trailing after six innings -- they had been 0-20.