Yanks don't miss beat, 11-3

Recast team continues domination of Orioles, rips bullpen in 6-run 6th

Gibbons leaves with back injury

Newcomer D. Bautista, DeJean struggle, yield 8 runs in 5th loss in row

May 26, 2004|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

Lee Mazzilli's first chance to manage against his mentor, Joe Torre, turned into a fitting depiction of their two franchises last night, and it wasn't very pretty for the Orioles.

The New York Yankees showed why they've been such a well-oiled machine all these years, and the Orioles showed just how challenging their rebuilding project continues to be.

In that sense, maybe Mazzilli caught a break during his team's 11-3 loss before a crowd of 42,846 at Camden Yards. Wouldn't want the folks around here to think it's going to be easy overcoming the Yankees someday.

With their fifth straight loss, the Orioles (20-21) fell below .500 for the first time since Easter Sunday, when they were 3-4. If their night wasn't bleak enough, they watched right fielder Jay Gibbons walk off with an injury.

Gibbons winced as he singled to right field in the ninth inning, looking like he twisted his back or perhaps a rib-cage muscle, and had to be helped off the field. The team was still awaiting word from its training staff on the injury's significance.

The Orioles started a rookie pitcher, Erik Bedard, who had to work his way through a 78-minute rain delay in the third inning, and relieved him when the game was still close with Denny Bautista, a promising yet oh-so-green pitcher from Double-A.

The Yankees started Jon Lieber, a pitcher they signed with tremendous foresight in January 2003, only five months after he had undergone major reconstructive elbow surgery. They kept Lieber in mothballs all of last year, then unveiled him this season to help replace the formidable trio of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and David Wells.

Lieber (4-1) held the Orioles to two runs, both of them unearned, in seven innings.

Bedard (1-2) was solid until the rains came, but the Yankees got to him for two runs in the fourth inning. Bautista came on to make an impressive major league debut in the fifth, retiring the side against Bernie Williams, Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield.

But Mazzilli sent Bautista back out for the sixth, and that's when the Yankees pulled away. Four runs in that inning were charged to Bautista, and two more were charged to Mike DeJean, who surrendered a three-run homer to Alex Rodriguez that increased the lead to 8-0.

Bautista, 23, unleashed a series of 94-mph fastballs and 82-mph curveballs to get through that daunting fifth inning. But the Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, when Enrique Wilson hit a sacrifice fly, stretching the lead to 3-0.

Then with the struggling Derek Jeter at the plate, he of the .187 batting average, Bautista threw a wild pitch, allowing the fourth run to score. Jeter followed with a run-scoring double down the left-field line before Mazzilli went back to his bullpen.

Trailing 5-0, Mazzilli figured it was a good time to get DeJean some work, but once again, the results were troubling.

Williams singled, and then Rodriguez hit his 11th home run of the season over the center-field wall. DeJean gave up two more runs in the seventh, raising his ERA to 9.19.

Bedard earned his first major league win in his previous start, holding the Seattle Mariners to two runs in 6 2/3 innings. The Orioles won that game, 5-2, and then lost their last four games of their West Coast trip.

This time, as he set out to stop that losing streak, Bedard came out sharply again. He walked a batter in each of the first two innings but kept the Yankees scoreless before the rains came in the top of the third inning.

Play was stopped for one hour, 18 minutes, which is a long break for any pitcher, and Bedard had thrown 36 pitches.

After the break, he wasn't quite as effective.

With the game still scoreless in the fourth inning, Gary Sheffield hit a chopper to third and beat Melvin Mora's throw to first for an infield single. Jorge Posada the best of the Yankees' hitters so far this season, followed with a run-scoring double in the right-center-field gap.

Then, with one out and Posada at third base, the Orioles played their infield in, and Hideki Matsui dropped a bloop single into shallow left field. Posada scored, and the Yankees led 2-0.

But Bedard righted himself before the inning careened out of control. Tony Clark doubled into the right-field corner, putting runners at second and third, but Enrique Wilson (the Yankees' No. 9 hitter) fouled out to first, and Mora made a spectacular diving stop and throw first to rob a hit from Jeter.

But factoring in the long rain delay, it had already been a long night for Bedard, who threw 79 pitches, so Mazzilli summoned Bautista to make his major league debut.

Hey, Denny, welcome to the American League East. For your first assignment, try this trio in the Yankees' fifth: Williams, Rodriguez and Sheffield. It looked terribly daunting, but Bautista didn't flinch. He unleashed a series of 94-mph fastballs and 82-mph curve balls and retired the side.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: New York Yankees

Site: Camden Yards

Time: 7:05

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Yankees' Mike Mussina (5-4, 4.71) vs. Orioles' Rodrigo Lopez (3-2, 1.97)

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