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AL ROUNDUP

Yankees are still on skids

After being thoroughly outplayed by the undermanned Minnesota Twins in their sixth straight defeat, it's clear that everything is going wrong for the New York Yankees.

If George Steinbrenner was upset before, he's really going to be angry now.

Lew Ford homered, tripled, and drove in three runs to lead host Minnesota to a 6-3 victory over the slumping Yankees last night.

''We're frustrated, disappointed," Yankees starter Mike Mussina said. ''We certainly aren't proud of the way we're playing."

Neither is Steinbrenner, who held a conference call yesterday afternoon with manager Joe Torre and GM Brian Cashman to get some answers after watching his team get swept by the Kansas City Royals, the worst team in the major leagues.

An upset Steinbrenner made it clear the team's struggles are unacceptable.

''He wants to see improvement yesterday," Torre said. ''And so do we all."

That will have to wait at least another day because the Yankees (27-27) squandered a 3-0 lead for their first six-game skid since dropping seven straight in September and October 2000. They have scored three runs or fewer in every game of the losing streak.

The Twins lost three starters to injury in their 13-inning victory over Cleveland Thursday. Nick Punto blew out his hamstring and is on the disabled list, Justin Morneau strained his left elbow, and Joe Mauer pulled a groin muscle.

Even without heavy hitters Mauer and Morneau in the starting lineup, the Twins roughed up Mussina (5-4) with two home runs and eight hits to win their third in a row and sixth in their last eight.

Brent Abernathy hit his first homer of the season to start the Twins' comeback in the fourth, and Kyle Lohse (5-3) settled down after a rocky start to get the victory. Lohse gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings with two strikeouts.

Royals 2, Rangers 1 -- Matt Stairs homered and Runelvys Hernandez pitched six solid innings, leading resurgent Kansas City past visiting Texas for the Royals' first four-game winning streak in 21 months.

Coming off a totally unexpected three-game sweep of the Yankees, the bottom-feeding Royals also hiked Buddy Bell's record as manager to 4-0.

White Sox 6, Indians 4 -- Jermaine Dye had three hits and Orlando Hernandez (sore shoulder) came off the disabled list to get his first win since May 11 as host Chicago beat Cleveland.

Hernandez had control problems, hitting four batters and squandering a 4-0 first-inning lead. Hernandez (6-1) gave up four runs and six hits in six innings, including a game-tying three-run homer to Coco Crisp in the third.

Blue Jays 6, Athletics 2 -- Roy Halladay (9-2) pitched seven sharp innings to earn his AL-leading ninth win, and visiting Toronto snapped Oakland's season-high four-game winning streak.

Frank Catalanotto went 4 for 4 with a solo homer and Orlando Hudson added a two-run single in a three-run fourth inning for Toronto, which had lost five of seven.

Tigers 5, Orioles 3 -- Ivan Rodriguez homered and hit a tiebreaking double, and Jason Johnson pitched into the ninth inning to lead host Detroit.

Johnson (4-4) gave up three runs -- one earned -- and six hits in eight-plus innings, striking out six and walking one.

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