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, though, they conspired against the Orioles, who were shut out, 5-0, on a combined five-hitter by Greg Cadaret and Rich Monteleone.
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 after a nearly one-hour rain delay and never made it out of the second inning.
"I had decent command [of his pitches], they just hit the pitches that I threw," said Milacki, whose 42-pitch start was his shortest since last May. "I made some good pitches. I got a double play, but I couldn't get the third out."
Milacki said he didn't think the delay affected him, and Orioles manager Johnny Oates seemed to concur. Oates didn't seem that displeased with Milacki, saying: "You've got to give the other guys credit sometimes. Every time you get a base hit, it's not a bad pitch."
The double play Milacki was referring to -- one of four the Orioles (10-6) turned in the first five innings -- preceded three straight hits by the Yankees: a single by Charlie Hayes, a single by Randy Velarde and a lined double off the left-field wall by leadoff hitter Andy Stankiewicz.
Stankiewicz, playing for the injured Pat Kelly, later added his first major-league home run in the seventh off former minor-league teammate Alan Mills, who had come on in relief of Milacki. Mills, who picked up his first victory as an Oriole on Monday, wobbled through 5 1/3 erratic innings before Mike Flanagan finished.
"He threw the ball well," Oates said of Mills. "I don't think it's easy to come in against a team that knows you."
Said Stankiewicz: "Most of the guys know that he throws hard. I think we probably had an advantage. We knew what to expect."
The defeat dropped the Orioles from a second-place tie with the Yankees (11-5), who have won three straight. It was the first time the Orioles had been shut out since the second game of the season, and it was the second straight shutout in which Cadaret (2-0) played a part.
Though he too struggled at times, falling behind Orioles batters on occasion, Cadaret never encountered much difficulty. He gave up singles to Chris Hoiles, Mike Devereaux and David Segui before giving way to Monteleone in the eighth.
"Even when I got behind, I made some good pitches to get them out," said Cadaret, whose ERA dropped to a minuscule 1.17.
The Orioles threatened on three occasions. In the fourth, after a leadoff walk to Luis Mercedes and a one-out single by Devereaux, Hoiles hit into an inning-ending double play. Cadaret walked Brady Anderson and Mercedes to start the sixth, but retired the next three batters.
After replacing Cadaret and getting the side in order in the eighth, Monteleone saw the Orioles sandwich singles by Ripken and Hoiles around a fly out by Devereaux. But Monteleone then struck out pinch hitter Joe Orsulak and got Sam Horn, pinch-hitting for Leo Gomez, to pop out to short right to end the game.
Said Segui, "We got a couple of hits and some walks, but we didn't capitalize."
About the only thing the Orioles won last night was an argument with plate umpire Mark Johnson. It happened in the bottom of the fifth. With Yankees on first and third and one out, Matt Nokes grounded to Segui at first. He picked up the ball, took a stab at the bag with his foot and fired the ball home to Hoiles, who tagged out Pat Kelly.
As the Orioles ran off the field, it appeared that Johnson was about to rule that Segui hadn't touched the base. But first base umpire Jim McKean jumped in and after conferring with crew chief Ken Kaiser, the play stood. Or, as Oates said later, "They got it right."
It was about the only thing that went right for the Orioles last night.