Originally created 03/16/04

Yankees stomp the Phillies

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Kevin Brown homered and allowed four singles over four scoreless innings to lead the New York Yankees over the Philadelphia Phillies 12-3 Monday.

Gary Sheffield, playing with a torn ligament in his right thumb, hit his first spring homer and had four RBIs.

Brown went 2-for-2, including a solo homer in the fourth on the first pitch of the spring by Phillies closer Billy Wagner, who had been sidelined by tendinitis in his left middle finger.

"You know the story about the blind squirrel," Brown said. "Meet Mr. blind squirrel."

Wagner allowed consecutive hits to Bubba Crosby and Derek Jeter after Brown's homer. The left-hander then struck out Alex Rodriguez and retired Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield on infield outs.

"There was nothing on that pitch," Wagner said of his fastball to Brown. "All I wanted to do (today) was throw strikes and get a good feel."

Brown got double-play grounders in each of the first three innings. He struck out three and walked one.

"It's not where I want to be," said Brown, who threw 27 of 44 pitches for strikes. "It's still a work in progress. I didn't feel the like the ball is very sharp coming out of my hand."

Brown sat down on the ground to get out of the way of Rodriguez's throw on Jimmy Rollins bunt single in the fourth. Brown then walked Bobby Abreu on four pitches.

Sheffield, cleared to play by a hand specialist last week, went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer off Roberto Hernandez.

"I'm starting to feel comfortable at the plate," he said.

Sheffield hit a two-run double in the first off Kevin Millwood, and Ruben Sierra had a sacrifice fly.

After allowing a leadoff single to Brown in the second, Millwood struck out Crosby and Jeter before retiring Rodriguez on an inning-ending flyout.

Millwood, who allowed three runs and five hits over two innings, missed his previous scheduled start because of a bruised left shoulder, an injury sustained during a fielding drill March 9.

"Not really people you want to face right out of bed," Millwood said of the Yankees. "The shoulder didn't hurt. Now it's just getting mechanics in order. I've got plenty of time."

Millwood has given up eight runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings in his two starts.

"He had a live fastball," Sheffield said. "We just come out and attacked. That's what you have to do against a great pitcher."

Philadelphia's Chase Utley went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, including a solo homer off Alex Graman in the fifth.

New York scored six runs in the ninth off Matt Squires, who did not retire any of his seven batters.

Notes: Crosby made a great diving catch with his back toward the infield on Rollins' drive to the center-field warning track in the seventh. ... Hall of Famer Robin Roberts threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Sheffield had first-inning RBI singles in his previous three games. ... Phillies 3B David Bell (right shoulder tendinitis) was scheduled to be examined Monday by team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti. ... Yankkees GM Brian Cashman said RHP Jon Lieber (right groin) had an MRI exam Monday and will not throw off a mound for the next couple weeks. Lieber will start the regular season on the disabled list. ... The Yankees optioned INF Andy Phillips to Triple-A Columbus, and reassigned OF John Rodriguez and C Dioner Navarro to their minor league camp.


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