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AL ROUNDUP

Red-hot Brown propels Yankees

In his first season with the New York Yankees, Kevin Brown is off to his best start since 1990.

Brown held down Seattle for 7 2/3 innings, and John Flaherty hit his first homer since August, leading the Yankees over the Mariners, 2-1, yesterday in the Bronx.

The 39-year-old righthander, acquired from Los Angeles in December, is 5-0 for the first time since 1990, when he pitched for Texas. He's also the first Yankee to open with five winning decisions since Roger Clemens in 1999.

Brown got out of a tough situation in the fourth, when Seattle loaded the bases on singles by Raul Ibanez and Jolbert Cabrera followed by John Olerud's walk. Brown retired Rich Aurilia on a foul pop to the catcher, then got Pat Borders to hit into a routine force at third.

Brown, who allowed eight hits, struck out five and walked one, left to a standing ovation after Ibanez singled with two outs.

Orioles 4, Angels 0 -- Sidney Ponson pitched a five-hitter to end a run of four poor starts, and Baltimore snapped a three-game losing streak by beating Anaheim at Camden Yards. Jerry Hairston drove in two runs and Javy Lopez had three hits for the Orioles, who averted a three-game sweep and avoided falling to .500 for the first time since April 15.

Ponson (3-3) retired 19 of the final 21 batters. He struck out four and walked one in his second complete game of the season and 23d of his career.

Tigers 3, Rangers 1 -- Jason Johnson pitched five strong innings before leaving with a blister, and three relievers combined to throw four shutout innings as host Detroit dumped Texas. Omar Infante homered and Alex Sanchez had three hits for the Tigers, who have won three of four.

Johnson left after the fifth because of a blister on his pitching hand, a problem that has bothered the righthander all season. He allowed one run on five hits, and struck out a season-best seven, one short of his career high.

Al Levine replaced Johnson and pitched two perfect innings, Esteban Yan allowed one hit in an inning, and Ugueth Urbina got three outs for his sixth save.

A's 6, Royals 2 -- Bobby Crosby had a homer among his three hits and drove in two runs as Oakland completed a series sweep in Kansas City, Mo. Crosby had a solo homer in the fifth inning and an RBI single in Oakland's three-run seventh. He doubled and scored in the ninth.

Erubiel Durazo also homered for the A's, who won their seventh straight against the Royals -- all in Kansas City -- and have won seven of their last 10.

Oakland lefthander Barry Zito (3-3) gave up Joe Randa's two-run triple in the first inning but recovered to pitch through the sixth before giving way to Jim Mecir.

Indians 10, Devil Rays 0 -- C.C. Sabathia pitched seven sharp innings and Cleveland defeated Tampa Bay to complete a three-game sweep at Jacobs Field. Sabathia (2-1) gave up five hits and struck out six, improving to 5-0 in five career starts against Tampa Bay. The lefthander, who has lost four potential wins this season when the Cleveland bullpen blew leads, walked two and lowered his ERA to 2.03.

White Sox 11, Twins 0 -- Jose Valentin and Joe Crede homered to back Mark Buehrle's solid pitching performance, and Chicago avoided a three-game sweep by pounding visiting Minnesota. Buehrle allowed seven hits and struck out seven in 6 2/3 shutout innings to improve to 11-4 against the Twins. Unlike some of Chicago's other starters, he hasn't suffered from lack of run support. In Buehrle's last two starts, the White Sox have scored 26 runs.

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