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YANKS RIDE MUSSINA, SPENCER OVER RAYS

Mike Mussina lost his lead, but not his focus.

The New York right-hander pitched seven solid innings and Shane Spencer homered and drove in three runs Friday night to help the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 6-3.

Mussina (7-7) weathered back-to-back homers by Aubrey Huff and Steve Cox in the fourth inning and allowed three runs and seven hits before being replaced by Ramiro Mendoza.

"I've given up my share of big innings over the years. That's something you get accustomed to," Mussina said. "You have to put it behind you and move on -- focus on what's ahead of you. I didn't give up the lead. It was still in the middle of the ballgame."

Spencer hit a two-run homer in the second and added a RBI double in the eighth. Paul O'Neill had a sacrifice fly in the fourth and Derek Jeter broke a 3-all tie with a run-scoring single off Albie Lopez (3-10) in the fifth.

Mendoza and Mike Stanton got the first two outs in the eighth before Mariano Rivera came on to strike out pinch-hitter Fred McGriff with two runners on. Rivera finished for his 22nd save in 25 opportunities.

The win before a crowd of 24,718 -- second-largest at Tropicana Field this season -- stopped the Yankees' two-game losing streak. Tampa Bay has dropped seven straight, matching its longest skid of the year.

Mussina, who struck out five and walked one, allowed only three baserunners after Huff and Cox homered on consecutive pitches to erase a 3-0 Yankees lead.

"All but that one inning, Mussina was terrific," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He just got a couple of pitches up and they let him know about it. He settled in there, and once he got the one-run lead, he made that stand up."

Huff's two-run shot was his first homer since May 4, a span of 138 at-bats. Cox, starting because McGriff was resting his sore right hamstring, followed with his first homer since May 31.

"We made it exciting for a while," said Devil Rays manager Hal McRae. "We didn't score enough runs, but I thought that Albie pitched well and, offensively, I thought we had a good game . . . We did everything but win."

The loss was Lopez's team-record ninth straight. He allowed six runs on six hits, walked three and struck out four in seven-plus innings.

Delgado's hit looms large

BOSTON -- Carlos Delgado hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-3 win over the Boston Red Sox.

Delgado's home run came on the first pitch off Pete Schourek (1-4), who replaced starter Hideo Nomo, to lead off the inning.

"In that situation early in the count, I'm looking for a pitch I can drive," Delgado said. "I got a pitch out over the plate and I was able to drive it."

Raul Mondesi also homered, the 200th of his career, as Toronto beat Boston for just the second time in eight games.

Boston had rallied to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth on Jose Offerman's bloop single off Blue Jays starter Esteban Loaiza.

Scott Hatteberg led off with a double, and Darren Lewis sacrificed pinch runner Shea Hillenbrand to third. Hillenbrand then scored on Offerman's hit.

Around the horn

Juan Gonzalez hit a go-ahead home run to lead the Indians to a 6-5 victory over the Royals. Gonzalez's 18th homer of the season, a two-run shot off reliever Blake Stein that broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh, was the 380th of his career. That gave Gonzalez the most homers by a Puerto Rico-born player, a record he had shared with Orlando Cepeda. Ellis Burks and Russell Branyan also homered in the Indians' three-run sixth as Cleveland erased Kansas City's 4-1 lead. . . . David Segui snapped a tie with a two-run double in the seventh inning as the Orioles rallied to beat David Wells and the White Sox, 6-4. Wells (5-7) allowed five runs and 10 hits and fell to 3-6 on the road. . . . Robert Fick hit a leadoff homer in the eighth inning as the Tigers overcame a four-run deficit to beat the Twins, 5-4. . . . Jarrod Washburn allowed five hits in 7 2/3 innings and the Angels scored six runs in the fifth inning to beat the Mariners, 8-1. . . . Doug Davis scattered seven hits over seven innings to help lead the Rangers to a 2-1 victory over the Athletics.

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