BOSTON — NEW YORK -- The temperature soared to 100 degrees by the first pitch last night, transforming Yankee Stadium into the world's largest steam bath. Appropriately, the Orioles kept New York pitchers in hot water.
Andy Pettitte's 9-1 lifetime record against them? No sweat.
The Orioles scored in three of the first four innings against Pettitte, ambushed his replacement for two home runs and rode a solid if not spectacular start by Mike Mussina to a 9-1 victory over the New York Yankees before 29,934.
Earning a split in the four-game series, the Orioles (34-47) return to Baltimore for their last homestand before the All-Star break. By tomorrow, they'll know if Mussina and B. J. Surhoff will be representing their club in Boston.
Cal Ripken celebrated the news that he had been voted in again by drilling a two-run homer off reliever Jason Grimsley in the seventh inning. It was Ripken's 1,000th career extra-base hit and 2,943th hit, tying Frank Robinson for 27th place on baseball's all-time list.
Mussina (10-4) and Surhoff were stating their case in front of Yankees manager Joe Torre, who must decide on the pitchers and reserves. Surhoff drove in four runs, the last three on a 419-foot homer off Grimsley in the eighth. It was his 20th of the season, two short of his career high. Mussina allowed only a first-inning run before departing with one out in the sixth, two runners aboard and the Orioles ahead 4-1.
It was the 13th time that Mussina, who threw 89 pitches, left with a lead. It hasn't always been there in the end, but a maligned bullpen held it in place.
Making his fourth appearance in six games, left-hander Doug Johns retired Tino Martinez and Chili Davis to stamp out the rally, though he needed an outstanding grab by Surhoff on Davis' shot to the warning track in left to keep the margin intact. Gabe Molina threw two shutout innings and Rocky Coppinger had a quiet ninth to wrap up the victory.
The win was only the fourth for Mussina in 12 career regular-season decisions against New York, and just his second in the Bronx. Torre made him earn it, stacking his lineup with seven starters who were batting .300 or better against Mussina in their careers.
Starved for runs in his last three defeats, Mussina was given an early lead last night. Mike Bordick walked with one out in the first inning and moved up on a single by Surhoff, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games. Albert Belle bounced Pettitte's next pitch into center field, scoring Bordick and advancing Surhoff to third.
Given the opportunity to break open the game early, the Orioles left it slightly cracked. Jeff Conine fell behind 0-2 before popping to first, and Rich Amaral -- starting in right field while Belle served as the designated hitter -- tapped to the mound.
The Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Chuck Knoblauch led off with a double and hustled to third on a liner to right. With the infield playing back, Knoblauch scored easily on Paul O'Neill's bouncer to second.
The Orioles stranded two more in the second inning, but pushed across the go-ahead run while continuing to make Pettitte work harder than advised in such oppressive heat.
Ripken doubled to left to pass former teammate Eddie Murray for 15th place on baseball's all-time list. He began the night with only six hits in 32 career at-bats against Pettitte. Ripken moved to third on a grounder by Jerry Hairston and scored when catcher Charles Johnson lined a single into center field. It was Johnson's first look at Pettitte after five seasons in the National League.
Brady Anderson worked the count full before walking, but Pettitte struck out Bordick -- the only Orioles starter not to get a hit -- and retired Surhoff on a fly ball to center.
By now, Pettitte had faced 12 batters in two innings, hardly the proper way to straighten out a crooked season.
He started out on the disabled list with a strained left elbow, lost four of five decisions between May 22 and June 13, and followed his only consecutive wins with a seven-run pummeling by the Detroit Tigers.
That game led to last night, and a meeting with a team he usually owns. Pettitte was 3-0 against the Orioles last season, allowing only five earned runs in 24 1/3 innings, and had a lifetime ERA of 3.64 to go with his nine wins. He was removed after six innings and 116 pitches.
The Yankees threatened to tie the score in the third when Scott Brosius led off with a single to left and was sacrificed to second. Knoblauch walked, and Derek Jeter jumped ahead 2-0 to get the crowd stirring. It had good reason to expect something big, with Jeter riding a 14-game hitting streak and batting .395 in 11 games since being moved to the third spot in the order.
Instead, it was left disappointed when he bounced into a double play, an at-bat that looked more critical when the Orioles erupted again in the fourth.