O's do figure 8 on Yanks, win, 14-8

Scoring 10 runs over first 3 innings -- including 8 in third -- O's hold on, end New York's winning streak at 5

September 11, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

The Orioles sent 13 batters to the plate in the third inning last night and pushed across eight runs, a gaudy accessory to the two they scored in the first. Then they spent the rest of the game wondering if the New York Yankees would undress them again.

It has been known to happen, enough times that someone should keep a blanket handy. But the Orioles maintained the lead and their dignity, no matter how often the Yankees tugged at both.

On a night when Rodrigo Lopez wasn't particularly sharp, the Orioles made sure it didn't matter by unloading early on Yankees pitching in a 14-8 victory before a sellout crowd of 48,026 at Camden Yards.

B.J. Surhoff drove in a season-high four runs, two coming on his first triple since 2001, as the Orioles (65-74) improved to 5-12 against the Yankees this season. They also ended New York's winning streak at five games.

"This team can score runs. We can strike quickly," manager Lee Mazzilli said. "But when you play that team, it's never enough."

Miguel Tejada hit a two-run homer off Javier Vazquez in the first inning, and his bases-loaded walk in the third tied the score at 3. It also allowed him to tie for the major league lead in RBIs with 125.

Before the inning was finished, Vazquez had hit Rafael Palmeiro for the second time in five days and walked Javy Lopez to bring in two more runs, forcing manager Joe Torre to dig into his bullpen.

Only Vazquez was through.

Surhoff lined a two-run single to right field, with Gary Sheffield unable to play the ball cleanly on one hop. Larry Bigbie had an RBI single, and he scored on Brian Roberts' two-run double.

"You never get comfortable," Bigbie said. "I was on edge with an eight-run lead."

Roberts has 46 doubles, tying Cal Ripken for second place on the club's all-time single-season list and leaving him one behind Ripken's record in 1983. He also tied the American League record by a switch-hitter.

Milwaukee's John Anderson had the same number in 1901 - which seemed about the same time that the third inning began.

The Yankees used three pitchers that inning, including former starter Estaban Loaiza. C.J. Nitkowski was charged with two runs and caused plate umpire Ed Rapuano to warn both benches after he drilled David Newhan following Roberts' double.

The eight-run inning matched the Orioles' season high and gave them a 10-3 lead. The Yankees hadn't permitted that many runs in an inning since last September.

If only the Orioles could have felt safe. Mazzilli used five relievers, including Jorge Julio, who's appealing a four-game suspension he received yesterday for throwing at the head of Minnesota Twins infielder Augie Ojeda.

"They can strike and put five or six on the board real quick," Mazzilli said. "When we have a chance to score some runs, we have to make the most of it. And we did."

Melvin Mora hit his 24th homer in the eighth to give Julio a little more room. Every run counted, no matter the margin.

Derek Jeter hit a three-run homer off Lopez in the second inning, his 20th, to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. It brought a thunderous ovation from a crowd that sounded like it took a train here from the Bronx.

Lopez fed him a 2-2 slider, and Jeter devoured it. How much of an appetite can one man have against the same pitcher, and the same team? The at-bat left Jeter 14-for-27 with three homers lifetime against Lopez. He has seven homers and 18 RBIs against the Orioles this season.

Not having allowed more than three runs in a start since Aug. 1, Lopez surrendered that many with one swing from Jeter. The Yankees scored twice in the fourth, with Ruben Sierra connecting on another slider for his 16th homer, and Lopez was gone after 5 2/3 .

Lopez wasn't pleased that Mazzilli pushed back his start to last night and left a week between appearances. He was directly affected by Matt Riley's inclusion in the rotation for Wednesday's game, and Thursday's open date on the schedule.

"I don't want to blame anybody," Lopez said. "I just didn't feel like I wanted to feel."

The Yankees scored three runs off Dave Borkowski in the seventh, the last crossing after he left with the bases loaded and one out. The lead was down to 13-8. A few buttons were coming undone.

A team wasn't.

"When you put a nail in the coffin," Mazzilli said, "you've got to hammer it shut."

Orioles today

Opponent: New York Yankees

Site: Camden Yards

Time: 4:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 54/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Yankees' Orlando Hernandez (7-0, 2.62) vs. Orioles' Sidney Ponson (10-13, 5.37)

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