BALTIMORE (AP) -- For one final game this season, the New York Yankees played with absolutely no pressure to win.
Some of the players, most notably Alex Rodriguez and Bobby Abreu, achieved personal milestones in Sunday's 10-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles. But the main objective of the regular season finale was to have some fun."Everybody had a pretty good time today," said Joe Torre, who designated catcher Jorge Posada as manager for the day.As the wild-card Yankees made plans for their postseason opener Thursday at Cleveland, Posada and second baseman Robinson Cano did not play. Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon were all lifted in the fourth inning.Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte will start the first two games for the Yankees against C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona. If his elbow and hamstring are ready, Roger Clemens figures to start Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, with Mike Mussina likely to pitch Game 4.But first, there was the regular-season finale.Rodriguez raised his major league-leading RBIs total to 156, Wilson Betemit drove in three runs, and Jason Giambi and Abreu each had two RBIs.Rodriguez went 2-for-2 with a walk before being removed by Posada, designated to manage in a Torre tradition -- he allows a veteran to run the team in the final game if it is meaningless. With an RBI single off Brian Burres (6-8) in the first inning, Rodriguez moved past Joe DiMaggio into sole possession of 10th place on New York's season RBIs list.Rodriguez, heading toward a third AL MVP award, finished with a .314 batting average and 54 home runs, tied with Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle for the fourth-highest season total in franchise history."This guy was there when the bell rang," Torre said. "You don't realize it until he came off the field today that that's the end of his season. To have the numbers that he put up there is more than amazing."Abreu wound up with 101 RBIs, reaching 100 for the fifth straight time and sixth overall."That's another year with 100 RBIs. I was looking for that for a week or two," Abreu said. "Finally get it. I just feel happy about it. It's very important. I want to keep the streak of seasons with 100 RBIs. I didn't want to end it."The Yankees, like Abreu, closed with a flourish. New York was 21-29 on May 29 before coming back to finish 94-68 -- their fewest wins since 2000.Chase Wright (2-0) got the win, pitching two innings of relief after starter Sean Henn allowed one run and one hit in three innings.In the seventh, Posada went to the mound to remove Ross Ohlendorf and summon standout rookie Joba Chamberlain. The right-hander retired his only batter to finish with an 0.38 ERA in 24 innings."This youngster in the last couple of months has found himself a new career," Torre said. "He certainly has good enough stuff to come out of the bullpen and be effective."Kevin Millar and J.R. House hit solo homers for the Orioles, who lost 28 of their last 39 games. They were outscored 208-185 in that span."I wish it would have turned out different for a lot of reasons and a lot of people," manager Dave Trembley said. "Mainly for the fans and the players, not for me."Baltimore finished fourth in the AL East at 69-92, its 10th straight losing season since winning the 1997 division title."The won-lost record is disappointing. We could have done a much better job in that category," Millar said. "It's been a mental grind. The last six, seven weeks have been tough -- we've gotten our butts kicked at times."Trembley took over after the Orioles fired Sam Perlozzo on June 18. Trembley was 29-25 when the team announced that he would return in 2008. Later that day, Baltimore lost to Texas 30-3.That launched a nine-game losing streak, and injuries to the starting rotation and bullpen fueled a tailspin in September that left Trembley with a 40-53 record.Baltimore finished with a 6.89 ERA in September, worst in the majors in 51 years. On Sunday, Baltimore yielded at least 10 runs for the 11th time in its last 39 games.New York led 2-1 before batting around during a four-run fourth inning. Doug Mientkiewicz led off with a double and Jose Molina singled before Damon drove in a run with an infield hit. Jeter walked, Abreu hit a run-scoring grounder and Rodriguez walked to load the bases before being replaced by pinch-runner Bronson Sardinha.When Rodriguez reached the dugout, he was hugged by Torre and slapped high fives with his teammates. Giambi was hit by a pitch to force in a run, and Betemit hit an RBI grounder.New York made it 9-2 with a three-run fifth. Abreu drew a bases-loaded walk, Sardinha hit a sacrifice fly and Giambi added an RBI single.
The Orioles announced before the game that bench coach Tom Trebelhorn would not return next year. ... New York took two of three to even the season series 9-9. ... Trembley rested Nick Markakis, assuring the RF a .300 batting average in his second major league season. It was the only game this season that Markakis sat out.