Hernandez silences O's, 5-2, until feud

Yanks' Posada, O's coach Trebelhorn have words over tipping pitches in 9th

September 12, 2004|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

The runs flowed for the Orioles less than 24 hours earlier, and they weren't shy about taking huge gulps. Maybe it was predictable that a new day would leave them parched.

Two measly drops of offense won't quench a thirst - or cool down a third base coach.

Absent from the majors until two months ago, Orlando Hernandez remained unbeaten and the undisputed ace of the New York Yankees' pitching staff by limiting the Orioles to Rafael Palmeiro's bases-empty home run in seven innings yesterday in a 5-2 victory at Camden Yards that ended with angry words being exchanged in the infield.

Melvin Mora homered off reliever Tom Gordon in the eighth, after the Yankees scored three runs in the top half. Mariano Rivera picked up his 47th save, but the usual handshakes were interrupted for a few tense moments.

Third base coach Tom Trebelhorn ran after Jorge Posada as the Yankees catcher headed toward the mound, and he also had a brief confrontation with Rivera. Yankees manager Joe Torre put an arm on Trebelhorn's shoulder, and the incident died down.

Posada apparently had accused Trebelhorn of tipping the location of Rivera's pitches in the ninth inning - not the first time he's challenged the Orioles this season.

Nothing like a new twist to an old rivalry.

Trebelhorn said he felt like Posada had disrespected him.

"He thinks I was giving location to [B.J.] Surhoff, is the only guy I can imagine. And I was doing nothing, not a thing," Trebelhorn said, after the Yankees won for the sixth time in seven games.

"I was looking in there and he gave me a `Don't do this, don't do this,' and I'm going, `What's this guy talking about?'"

Posada pointed to his head after Surhoff struck out for the second out, as if gesturing that Trebelhorn's actions were putting his players in harm's way.

"After Surhoff struck out, he said I'm going to get somebody hurt, and I said, `What the [heck] are you talking about?'" Trebelhorn said. "And he said, `Yeah, yeah, right,' and gave me the wave off.

"He said, `You're going to get somebody killed.' He's full of [it]. I didn't do anything. I don't know what ... he's talking about."

Palmeiro, who led off the ninth inning with his third hit, walked slowly to the dugout after the game while glancing back at Trebelhorn. Players and coaches milled around to make sure the exchange didn't get physical.

Posada dressed in the players' lounge and exited the clubhouse without speaking to reporters.

Neither manager could shed much light on the dispute, which has one more chance to escalate. Today's game is the last between the teams this season.

"I guess [Trebelhorn] and Jorge had words. It didn't seem to be anything serious," Torre said.

Posada accused David Newhan of stealing signs at second base during a series in New Yorkin late July. Posada shouted at Newhan from the mound.

If Trebelhorn was tipping off pitches, he did a lousy job of it.

The Orioles' run production fell from 14 to two, and they were handcuffed most of the day by Hernandez's slider.

Drawing scant interest from teams during a January workout, Hernandez didn't make his first start until July 11. The Yankees were convinced that he had fully recovered from the rotator cuff surgery that kept him from pitching in 2003. Nobody is going to argue, not after he improved to 8-0 with a 2.49 ERA. The Yankees are 11-1 in his starts.

"El Duque always comes up big when they need him," said Palmeiro, whose 17th homer in the fourth reduced the Yankees' lead to 2-1.

Another sellout crowd of 47,858 was treated to an intense duel between Hernandez and Orioles starter Sidney Ponson, who were a combined 14-1 in the second half. Ponson had the only loss.

Now he's got two.

"He did a good job. He kept us in the game," Mazzilli said. "I don't have any problem with what he did out there."

Two of the Yankees' runs in the eighth inning were unearned after shortstop Miguel Tejada's career-high 22nd error.

Kenny Lofton tripled and scored on a single by Derek Jeter to increase the Yankees' lead to 3-1. Ponson (10-14) stayed in the game - B.J. Ryan didn't begin to warm until the triple - and Tejada threw wide of second after fielding Alex Rodriguez's grounder.

"The ball was in the hole," said Ponson, who's 7-2 in the second half. "Miggy did his best. I looked at him and said, `Don't worry about it.'"

Gary Sheffield doubled down the left-field line to score Jeter, and Ponson exited after 100 pitches without recordingan eighth-inning out.

"I thought he was throwing the ball well, like he was at the start of the game," Mazzilli said. "And I wanted to give him a chance to get the win."

Orioles today

Opponent: New York Yankees

Site: Camden Yards

Time: 1:35 p.m.

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

Starters: Yankees' Jon Lieber (11-8, 4.38) vs. Orioles' Bruce Chen (0-0, 2.12)

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