The scoreboard was reset to zero, all the runs and hits from the previous day wiped away. Orlando Hernandez and Jorge Posada then went out and restored some order at Yankee Stadium.
A night after Cleveland's offense set records, El Duque limited the Indians to three hits in seven innings and Posada hit a go-ahead, two-run homer that led the Yankees over the Indians, 5-3, last night.
When Travis Hafner hit an RBI single in the first inning, the Yankees left the bases loaded in the bottom half and Boston spurted to a four-run lead against Anaheim at Fenway Park, New York's AL East lead over the Red Sox looked to be in danger of shrinking to 21/2 games, down from 101/2 on the morning of Aug. 16.
But the Yankees, who suffered their most lopsided loss ever in a 22-0 rout Tuesday night, rallied when Posada homered off C.C. Sabathia (10-9) in the fourth. John Olerud added a solo homer later in the inning, and Miguel Cairo hit another in the seventh off David Riske for a 4-1 lead.
Hernandez (6-0), becoming the Yankees' ace at age 38, was just the second New York starter to win in 17 games since Aug. 13. Pitching against the team he beat in the key fourth game of the 1998 AL championship series, he struck out seven and didn't allow a runner past second base after the first inning.
"We know how he handles situations such as this," Manager Joe Torre said before the game. "When somebody needs a lift, or the ballclub needs a lift, he's been there for us in the past. We expect a good outing."
And, indeed, they got it.
* RED SOX 12, ANGELS 7: Kevin Millar homered and drove in four runs, and Boston opened a 31/2-game lead over visiting Anaheim in the AL wild-card race.
It was Boston's eighth straight win, second in a row over the Angels and 14th in its last 15 games.
Johnny Damon had four of Boston's 16 hits, and Mark Bellhorn, David Ortiz and Orlando Cabrera drove in two runs each.
* WHITE SOX 5, ATHLETICS 4: Pinch hitter Ross Gload came through with an RBI single in the ninth inning, and Chicago ended visiting Oakland's eight-game winning streak.
Scott Hatteberg and Mark McLemore each had three hits for the A's, who still lead the AL West by three games.
Oakland reliever Justin Duchscherer (5-5) gave up a leadoff single in the ninth to Jamie Burke, who tied a career high with three hits. Pinch runner Willie Harris moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Joe Borchard. Gload, batting for Joe Crede, singled to right, scoring Harris to win the game.
* TWINS 4, RANGERS 2: Terry Tiffee hit a go-ahead two-run double in his major league debut for host Minnesota.
Trailing 2-1, the Twins scored three runs in the eighth with the last two coming on Tiffee's high chopper off Francisco Cordero (3-1) that hopped over first base. Cordero had converted 21 straight save opportunities.
Jesse Crain (1-0) pitched two perfect innings for his first major league win. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 39 chances.
* ROYALS 1, TIGERS 0: Rookie Zack Greinke (7-9) pitched three-hit ball for seven innings in Kansas City.
Abraham Nunez, another rookie, singled home Joe Randa in the fourth with the Royals' only run off Mike Maroth (10-10) as Kansas City handed the Tigers their sixth loss in seven games.
* BLUE JAYS 4, MARINERS 2: Frank Menechino hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning, and David Bush pitched seven strong innings in Toronto.