NEW YORK -- When the Orioles streaked up the standings in the American League East with seven straight victories, they got solid performances from their starting pitchers and timely hitting throughout the lineup.
When the streak stalled last night against the New York Yankees, those two things were in consort again. This time, they conspired against the Orioles, who lost, 5-0, on a combined five-hitter by two New York pitchers.
Baltimore starter Bob Milacki (1-2) saw his reputation as a Yankees-killer take a beating as well. After winning his first five career decisions against New York, Milacki surrendered four runs following a nearly one-hour rain delay in the second inning.
The Orioles, who fell out of a second-place tie with the Yankees (11-5), managed only three singles against Greg Cadaret (2-0) in seven innings. Cadaret gave way to Rich Monteleone in the eighth, but the Orioles' bats stayed mostly silent through the night.
Aside from the rain, the only thing to prolong the agony for the Orioles was one of their misguided fans, who ran out of the stands in the top of the ninth to shake hands with Cal Ripken after the shortstop had singled to lead off the inning.
The fan was escorted off the field and, after a one-out single by Chris Hoiles, so were the Orioles following a strikeout by pinch hitter Joe Orsulak and a fly out by pinch hitter Sam Horn. It was only the second time the Orioles had been shut out this season.
After a 57-minute rain delay in the bottom of the second, the Yankees jumped all over Milacki. Though Milacki wasn't sharp before the rain, he was even shakier after the game resumed. He struggled with his control throughout, and paid for it dearly.
Milacki, who had walked Kevin Maas before the delay and immediately gave up a single to Matt Nokes after it, seemingly settled down by inducing Jesse Barfield to hit into a double play. Then things unraveled quickly.
A single by Charlie Hayes -- he went to second when right fielder Luis Mercedes made his second error in as many innings -- was followed by another sharply hit single by Randy Velarde, the No. 9 hitter. Leadoff hitter Andy Stankiewicz then hit a line drive off the left-field wall for a run-scoring double and Don Mattingly singled to right.
Milacki exited. It was his shortest stint since being recalled last May 20 from Hagerstown and getting rocked by the Detroit Tigers for five runs in less than an inning. The early 4-0 deficit was also the largest for the Orioles since falling behind 6-0 in the third inning of a 7-2 loss to Toronto April 11.
Coming off his first victory as an Oriole, on Monday against the Detroit Tigers, Alan Mills came in to face his former teammates. He retired Pat Kelly to end the second, breezed through the third and struggled in the fourth, but came out relatively unscathed.
He got out of trouble in the fifth after Kelly lined a double to right-center leading off. Kelly moved to third on Mel Hall's ground out to first and Maas was walked intentionally. Nokes grounded to first baseman David Segui, who touched the bag and threw home, where Hoiles tagged out Kelly. Or did he?
After home-plate umpire Mark Johnson called Kelly out first-base umpire Jim McKean rushed in and seemed to indicate that Segui had failed to touch first before throwing home. Orioles manager Johnny Oates came out to argue, as Segui had to be restrained by Mark McLemore, and Johnson's initial call was upheld. Yankees manager Buck Showalter argued briefly, but unsuccessfully.
The Orioles, meanwhile, couldn't get going against Cadaret. After shutting out the Cleveland Indians last Saturday, Cadaret picked up where he left off. The only bit of early trouble came in the fourth, when he walked Mercedes leading off and, after Ripken flew out to center, surrendered a single to Mike Devereaux. But Hoiles, who had singled earlier, grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Cadaret began to falter in the sixth, walking leadoff hitter Brady Anderson and Mercedes in succession. Anderson moved to third on Ripken's fly to right, but was stranded there as Devereaux struck out on and Hoiles, trying to check his swing, bounced weakly to shortstop. The rains came back, but the Orioles didn't.