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The Orioles had the day off yesterday and open a series against Toronto today, but there was a fair amount of stuff going on at Yankee Stadium, where the O's had just slowed down the pinstripe express by taking two of three from New York.

To start the day, the Yankees got the news that baseball commissioner Bud Selig would not be taking any disciplinary action against New York first baseman Jason Giambi as a result of Giambi's presumably frank discussion with MLB special steroids investigator George Mitchell. Then the Tigers' Gary Sheffield, in the Bronx with his Detroit teammates for a series against the Yanks, got in another dig at Joe Torre.

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And finally, while the matchup between Detroit's Justin Verlander and the Yankees' Mike Mussina wasn't much of a pitching duel, the Tigers got a grand slam from Carlos Guillen in the first inning to further slow the Yankees' chase of the first-place Red Sox, 8-5.

In the Giambi case, Selig indicated that Giambi's level of cooperation with Mitchell and the player's charitable work with kids persuaded him not to suspend the first baseman. Remember how all this got started, with Giambi telling a newspaper that he thought everyone in baseball owed the fans an apology for what occurred in the steroids era -- not an unreasonable point of view -- and he included another tacit admission of his own involvement. Baseball suits, including Selig and Yankee GM Brian Cashman, could hardly contain their rage and putting Giambi through the ringer of a discussion/interrogation with Mitchell was his punishment for such candor. Since Giambi did as he was told and has kept his mouth shut, he gets to play ball for the rest of the season.

Sheffield, meanwhile, feels no need to be particularly politic. Yesterday, he stood by earlier comments that Yankee manager Torre treated players of different races differently and took another shot at Torre by using Detroit manager Jim Leyland as a contrast.

Sheffield said of his current manager: "He's real. That's all there is to it. You get it both ways -- the positive and the negative -- and he's real about both sides." The implication being that Torre is not.

The Yankee manager declined to comment on Sheffield's comments.

*  In the National League, the Cardinals continued to stalk the Brewers in the NL Central. Left for road kill not so long ago, the defending World Series champion Cards now have won six straight as they completed a sweep of the Brewers, 8-0, and are just 2 1/2 games out of first (despite being two games under .500). The Cub are sandwiched between Milwaukee and St. Louis.

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