Chuck Knoblauch's throwing problem hit a new low ... and high ... and wide.
''He's hurting and needs our help,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said Thursday night after Knoblauch made a career-high three errors in New York's 12-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
''We're concerned about his welfare,'' said Torre, who sent Knoblauch home early. ''He felt bad that he was hurting the ballclub. He's a very proud guy. He feels he's not doing a good job.''
As recently as 1997, the second baseman won an AL Gold Glove. Last year, he made a league-high 26 errors, and Thursday's miscues increased this season's total to 12. He even said recently he might retire if his problem persisted.
''Everybody in baseball, to some degree, sympathizes with that type of battle, that type of fight,'' Chicago manager Jerry Manuel said. ''We always empathize with people who are struggling, who go through that type of pain.''
In other AL games, it was Baltimore 10, Texas 1; Tampa Bay 2, Anaheim 1; and Seattle 12, Minnesota 5.
At Yankee Stadium, Knoblauch's misplays led to two runs in the matchup between the teams with the AL's best records.
Paul Konerko and Brook Fordyce each had three hits and three RBIs as Chicago, coming off a three-game sweep at Cleveland, won for the 13th time in 15 games. Magglio Ordonez added a two-run homer.
The White Sox, who have the league's top mark at 41-24, lead the AL Central by 5 1/2 games -- their biggest edge since the end of the 1993 season.
Knoblauch's third error came in the sixth and prompted mild booing from the crowd of 30,803.
When the Yankees made a pitching change later in the inning, he stood absolutely still at his position -- hands on his hips and staring straight ahead. The other New York infielders gathered behind the mound while the outfielders talked in dead center.
''The tipoff to me was when he didn't come in when we changed the pitcher,'' Torre said.
When the inning ended, Knoblauch trotted in to the dugout and headed toward a tunnel leading to the clubhouse. With his hand, he motioned to Torre, who followed him.
''He wanted to talk,'' Torre said.
Torre came back alone moments later, and Knoblauch left the game. Knoblauch has missed several games this year because of a sore left forearm.
''I told him to leave. I hope he sleeps on it,'' Torre said.
Knoblauch became the first Yankees player to make three errors in a game since third baseman Scott Brosius on Aug. 4, 1998. The last Yankees second baseman to commit three was Mariano Duncan on May 1, 1996, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Mike Sirotka (6-5) won despite giving up 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Andy Pettitte (6-3), pitching on his 28th birthday, had won four straight starts. He also had been 6-0 against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Orioles 10, Rangers 1
Albert Belle hit a grand slam for the second straight night and also hit a solo shot at Camden Yards as Baltimore stretched its winning streak to five.
Texas has lost eight straight, its longest skid since a 10-game slide in July 1995.
Belle homered against Esteban Loaiza (3-5) leading off the second for a 1-0 lead, hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh that made it 4-1 and capped a six-run eighth with his 13th career slam. The six RBIs matched a career high.
Six pitchers combined on a five-hitter -- interrupted after three innings by a 2-hour, 7-minute rain delay. Chuck McElroy (1-0) pitched two hitless innings.
Devil Rays 2, Angels 1
Russ Johnson singled home the winning run for Tampa Bay in the bottom of the ninth off Shigetoshi Hasegawa (5-2).
Steve Trachsel (5-6), making his 200th career start, pitched a six-hitter for his second complete game of the season.
Bubba Trammell broke a scoreless tie with a solo homer for the Devil Rays in the sixth inning. The Angels scored on Troy Glaus' RBI grounder in the seventh.
Mariners 12, Twins 5
Mike Cameron set a career high with four hits, tied his major league best with five RBIs and hit his first career grand slam.
Rob Ramsey (1-1), who relieved injured starter Paul Abbott, pitched 2 2-3 innings at the Metrodome for his first major league victory, and Rickey Henderson had three singles, scored three runs and reached base four times for Seattle.
Alex Rodriguez and John Olerud each hit two-run homers off LaTroy Hawkins in the ninth.
Twins starter Mark Redman (4-2) allowed six earned runs on eight hits and five walks, getting just seven outs.
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