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Baseball: Left Fielder Matsui Rejoins Yankees' Lineup


In baseball, New York Yankees left fielder Hideki Matsui rejoined the lineup after four months on the injury list with a broken wrist. The long layoff apparently sharpened his batting eye.

The Japanese star had four hits in his first four trips to the plate Tuesday. Matsui drew a walk the fifth time he was up, then left the game for a pinch-runner as a cascade of cheers and applause filled Yankee Stadium.

The game itself was a laugher: Yankees 12, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4. Bobby Abreu hit a home run and a bases-loaded double in the first inning, driving in six runs as the New Yorkers started off with a 9-0 lead.

Elsewhere in the American League, the Tigers, Royals, Red Sox, Twins, Mariners and Angels won their games.

The National League's winners were the Cardinals, Reds, Mets, Cubs, Nationals and Giants.

The Detroit Tigers edged the Texas Rangers, 3-2, on three solo home runs. Carlos Guillen hit two balls over the fence, including the bottom-of-the-ninth blast that ended the game.

The Minnesota Twins, who are nipping at the Tigers' heels in their A.L. Central division race, beat the Oakland Athletics, 7-5. The Chicago White Sox, last year's World Series champions, are hoping to make the post-season playoffs next month, but they slipped a little farther behind the Twins and the Tigers with an 11-inning loss in California to the Los Angeles Angels, 4-3.

In Cleveland, the Kansas City Royals beat the Indians, 5-3, despite a bizarre fistfight in the dugout by the team's starting pitcher and catcher. Both men stayed in the game after their ruckus between the third and fourth innings.

The Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles, 6-5, after choking off a four-run Baltimore rally in the bottom of the ninth. And in Seattle, the Mariners bunched all 12 of their hits in the first five innings on the way to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

In the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Houston Astros, 6-5, on a big hit from slugger Albert Pujols that turned the game around: a broken-bat, two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Cincinnati Reds downed the San Diego Padres, 5-4, in 11 innings, on a home run by Jason LaRue. The Chicago Cubs also needed 11 innings to put together their 9-8 defeat of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The New York Mets are on the brink of clinching their N.L. East division title after their 6-4 victory over the Florida Marlins. The Mets have a 16-and-a-half-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies, whose game against the Atlanta Braves was rained out.

The Milwaukee Brewers' game against the Pirates in Pittsburgh also was washed out, but in the West, the Washington Nationals nipped the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-4, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies, 10-6.

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