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Yanks Fall Short This Time


Just as he has been most of the past year for the New York Yankees, David Cone was far from perfect.

Pitching 365 days after his perfect game, Cone allowed a two-run homer to Mike Lieberthal and a three-run shot to Pat Burrell as he lost his career-high sixth straight decision, 10-8 to the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night.

"Clearly I'm down. Clearly I'm frustrated," Cone said. "But I'm not going to give up. I'm not going to end things this way. This has to end. Either I'm going to turn things around and help the team, or they will have to make a tough decision."

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  • Bobby Abreu added a grand slam in the seventh off Jason Grimsley for the Phillies, who won for the first time in seven tries at Yankee Stadium. They lost twice in the 1950 World Series, three times in 1998 and in the opener of the series Sunday.

    Cone (1-8), whose last win came April 28, is in danger of being bumped from the Yankees' rotation. With only one win in 17 starts and the emergence of Dwight Gooden, a change could come soon.

    But manager Joe Torre expressed confidence in the right-hander before the game saying he would start again in five days and remained that way afterward.

    "I have to give him more leeway," Torre said. "I want David Cone to be successful and I know he does too. I'm still optimistic about his ability. I need to make sure he doesn't get too frustrated.

    Cone said it's too late.

    "This is my worst nightmare," he said. "The one thing I don't want to do is hold the team back."

    After working a perfect first inning, Cone walked Scott Rolen leading off the second and gave Lieberthal's towering homer, his 14th, to fall behind 2-0. After a perfect third, Cone allowed four more in the fourth on an RBI single by Tom Prince and Burrell's three-run homer.

    "It's a broken record," he said. "Every start, it's two pitches that kill me. I can't keep the ball in the park."

    Cone, 37, rolled his eyes in disgust after Burrell's blast the 19th he allowed this year. Torre looked on with a blank expression, wondering what he can do to help his most trusted big-game pitcher.

    Cone allowed six runs and six hits in five innings. He is 3-13 with a 5.86 ERA in 30 starts since his perfect game against Montreal last July 18.

    "That's David Cone. He's a 20-game winner," catcher Chris Turner said. "It has got to be extremely frustrating for him."

    The Yankees' offense nearly took Cone off the hook. Tino Martinez went 4-for-5 with his ninth home run and four RBIs, and Paul O'Neill hit a solo shot off David Coggin (2-0), his 11th homer.

    Bernie Williams played like a hard-hitting free safety, breaking up two plays at home plate.

    With the bases loaded by walks in the third, Martinez singled to right field. Lieberthal caught Abreu's throw home on the fly, braced himself and was knocked over by Williams. Lieberthal's glove fell off and the ball rolled loose, allowing Williams to score on the error to tie the game at 2.

    Lieberthal left after the inning with a sprained left ankle and will likely miss Tuesday's game. He was replaced by Prince, who was knocked over by Williams in the fifth.

    With runners on first and second, Martinez singled to right again. Prince went up the third-base line to field Abreu's throw, which arrived just before Williams, who knocked the ball loose and scored to make it 6-4.

    The Yankees added two in the eighth on an RBI single by Scott Brosius and a run-scoring groundout by Derek Jeter. The Yankees, who rallied from five runs down in the ninth on Sunday, brought the tying run up, but Rolen made a leaping backhand grab of David Justice's soft liner to end the inning.

    "Luckily he hit it off the end of the bat and I was able to get it," Rolen said.

    Martinez led off the ninth with a solo homer off Ed Vosberg. Chris Brock then walked pinch-hitter Jose Vizcaino before getting three outs for his first career save.

    "I'm glad we had the lead," manager Terry Francona said. "But the way they play, you know they are going to keep coming."

    Coggin, who began the season in Class-A, allowed four runs three earned six hits and six walks in five innings.

    "To get this win here is really nice," he said. "I'll reflect on it and enjoy the day tomorrow."

    Notes

  • Burrell, who hit three homers in a three-game series at Shea Stadium last month, has hit half of his eight homers this season in New York.
  • Yankees C Jorge Posada dropped his appeal of a one-game suspension because Turner was slated to start.
  • Phillies SS Desi Relaford was replaced by Alex Arias in the second because of inflammation in his right shoulder.

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