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Yankees rout Orioles in Giambi's return to lineup

Sep 28, 2006 - 2:52 AM BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- Battling an injury and a prolonged slump, Jason Giambi finally turned things around.

Giambi drove in four runs and Jorge Posada added a three-run homer as the New York Yankees posted a 16-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yankees (96-62) blasted a season-high five homers to move one game ahead of Detroit (95-63) in the race for home-field advantage in the American League playoffs.

Giambi had been sidelined since September 19 with a small ligament tear in his left wrist. The slugger received three cortisone shots in the last month to allow him to return to action in preparation for the postseason.

"I am excited," Giambi said. "I was able to take good at-bats today."

Before the injury, Giambi was in a terrible slide, hitting .152 with no homers and three RBI in his last 30 games. He knocked in more runs Wednesday than he had during that entire span.

After a leadoff walk to Alex Rodriguez in the second, Giambi lined his 37th homer off Kris Benson (11-12) into the short porch in right field to give New York a 2-1 lead. He added a two-run single in the fourth to make it 12-2.

"I got that mistake and hit it out," Giambi said. "I got five at-bats. My timing was a lot better than I thought. I couldn't have planned a better day."

Giambi collected three hits and three runs in his return. Jorge Posada added two hits, including his 21st homer.

Chien-Ming Wang (19-6) allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings, striking out four and walking one. With his 19th victory, the righthander tied Minnesota's Johan Santana for the major league lead.

Prior to the game, Wang was named the starter for Game One of the AL Division Series.

"I was surprised," Wang said. "Never thought I would be pitching Game One."

"He pitched very well," Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon said. "He deserves it."

Mariano Rivera made a rare appearance in the seventh, Ron Villone pitched the eighth and T.J. Beam hurled the final frame for New York.

Benson yielded eight runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings, striking out one and walking one. Melvin Mora had two hits for the Orioles.

"He just didn't have it," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said of Benson. "Things fell apart in the second. He didn't have his stuff. They came out swinging the bats."

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