Crosby's HR in 9th sinks O's, 3-2

DuBose gives up leadoff shot as Yankees stay in playoff hunt

September 20, 2005|By ROCH KUBATKO | ROCH KUBATKO,Sun reporter

New York -- Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard made his major league debut at Yankee Stadium on April 17, 2002. It only seems that long since he last won a game.

Stuck on one victory since the All-Star break, Bedard worked at his usual slow pace last night. Sand passed through the hourglass one grain at a time as players fidgeted behind him. Maybe he wanted to savor an early lead, knowing how easily it could vanish, just like the magical touch he once displayed.

With Bedard sitting in the dugout, Bubba Crosby hit his first home run of the season leading off the ninth inning, pulling Eric DuBose's second pitch into the right-field seats to give the New York Yankees a 3-2 win over the Orioles before a Bronx crowd of 51,521.

Coming off three games against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays that didn't attract much interest in Baltimore, the Orioles were thrust into the middle of a pennant race, playing before fans who were both plentiful and loud. Unfortunately, they weren't the only team that fed off the atmosphere.

"We know they"re going to be energized." interim manager Sam Perlozzo said of the Yankees, "so that's not good."

They sprung to life in the fifth, loading the bases with no outs and getting four straight singles before Bedard retired a batter. Down 2-0 when the inning began, they scored twice to tie the game, and Bedard was gone after the sixth with his pitch count at 104.

Perlozzo conducted the standard pre-game meeting to review a new opponent, but he didn't broach Sunday's topic, when he called together his players after a 6-5 loss and stressed how he wouldn't tolerate certain mistakes.

"We didn't say anything else about it." he said. "We"re just trying to develop a mind-set going into the final two weeks, something we can carry into next year. I just think it's the right way to go about our business, to get your mind-set ready. It's just one of the things that I wanted to accomplish while I was [manager] for two months."

Perlozzo still hasn't met with majority owner Peter G. Angelos to discuss whether he"ll have the interim tag removed next season, or if the club will begin interviewing candidates. He's 19-23 since replacing Lee Mazzilli on Aug. 4, and unsure how much the record will influence Angelos" decision.

"We're trying to win as many games as we possibly can." Perlozzo said. "If it turns out that we didn't win enough games to keep me, then I can at least walk away saying we tried to win as many games as we could. I can't continue to worry about losses and playing the New York Yankees eight times and the Red Sox three. But I'll tell you what: If we play really well, it certainly is going to come into play."

It wouldn't hurt Perlozzo's cause to have Bedard return to his earlier form.

Bedard hasn't won since Aug. 9, going eight consecutive starts without a victory. He was 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA in the first half, and 1-6 with a 5.20 ERA in the second.

The Yankees threatened in the second inning after Bedard walked two batters, but he struck out Robinson Cano on a 94-mph fastball. They loaded the bases with one out in the third, the ball never leaving the infield, but Gary Sheffield grounded into a double play.

Bubba Crosby reached on an infield hit and Derek Jeter beat out a bunt. Bedard hit Jason Giambi with one out, putting his 2-0 lead in serious jeopardy. Tejada fielded Sheffield's grounder and flipped to Brian Roberts to start the double play, and pumped his fist when it was over.

Chien-Ming Wang was making his third start for the Yankees since coming off the disabled list. He fell behind 1-0 in the first inning on two-out singles by Melvin Mora, Tejada and Jay Gibbons. Roberts led off the third with a single and later scored on Tejada's grounder to the right side.

NOTES: Perlozzo said he'll probably take another look at Bernie Castro in the outfield. Castro made his first start in left during Sunday's game and overran a ball for an error. "I wouldn't [determine] that he can't play anywhere after one game." Perlozzo said.

Tejada began last night with 48 doubles, three more than Roberts. They rank first and second in the American League, and are the first Orioles teammates to have 45 or more doubles in the same season.

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