Rarely used reserve Bubba Crosby led off the bottom of the ninth inning with his first home run this season, giving the New York Yankees a 3-2 victory last night over the Baltimore Orioles.
Chien-Ming Wang pitched eight stellar innings and Alex Rodriguez had an RBI single for the surging Yankees, who have won seven of eight and 11 of 15.
They also closed to within a half-game of the first-place Red Sox in the AL East.
Shuttled back and forth from Triple-A Columbus, Crosby served as a pinch runner and defensive replacement most of the year. But he has begun to get more playing time recently because right fielder Gary Sheffield (strained left thigh muscle) has been relegated to DH duty.
Crosby stepped to the plate in the ninth for his 72d major league at-bat this season and drove a pitch from Eric DuBose (1-3) over the fence in right center -- one of the Yankees' biggest hits all year.
He pumped his fist as he rounded first base and was mobbed at the plate by gleeful teammates. Then he came out for a curtain call.
''I've never hit a walkoff homer ever, anywhere, even in Little League, in my life," Crosby said. ''And to hit one here at Yankee Stadium, this time of year, when it counts, it doesn't get any better than that."
It was Crosby's second extra-base hit and fifth RBI all year. It also was his third hit of the game -- he had a bunt single and an infield single from the No. 9 spot.
Mariano Rivera (7-4) worked a perfect ninth for the win.
Indians 7, White Sox 5 -- Aaron Boone delivered a two-run, two-out single in the eighth inning as Cleveland cut Chicago's one-time 15-game Central Division lead to 2 1/2 games by rallying for the victory at US Cellular Field.
Boone, who homered earlier to help the Indians build a 4-0 lead they couldn't hold, lined a single up the middle off Bobby Jenks as Cleveland won its sixth straight and 13th of its last 14. The White Sox have lost eight of 11.
Cleveland also maintained its 1 1/2-game lead for the wild card over the Yankees.
Carl Everett homered in the seventh off Rafael Betancourt (4-3) to give the White Sox a 5-4 lead. Paul Konerko's two-run, two-out double had capped a four-run fifth off Kevin Millwood -- three of the runs were unearned -- to tie it.
Athletics 7, Twins 6 -- Nick Swisher hit a three-run homer, Mark Ellis followed with a solo shot, and host Oakland hung on to nip Minnesota.
Barry Zito (14-12) pitched 6 1/3 shutout innings and the Athletics pulled to within 1 1/2 games of the West-leading Los Angeles Angels.
Swisher, a rookie batting ninth, connected for his 19th home run with a shot to right-center off Brad Radke with two outs in the second, then Ellis hit his career-high 10th homer to left.
Mariners 7, Blue Jays 5 -- Richie Sexson hit a grand slam in the ninth inning to rally Seattle over host Toronto and snap its four-game losing streak.
Royals 10, Tigers 4 -- Matt Stairs had three hits, including a three-run homer, and Kansas City walloped visiting Detroit.