Hurting O's lose Roberts, too

2nd baseman dislocates elbow in Yanks' win

Sheffield: 6 RBIs

Yankees 12, Orioles 9

September 21, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,sun reporter

NEW YORK — The remaining two weeks of the season couldn't pass without the Orioles experiencing another crisis, without them being reminded again how they won't rack up any mileage going from bad to worse. The trip usually is a short one.

It didn't matter that rookie pitcher John Maine appeared to unravel in front of 46,982 fans at Yankee Stadium last night, or that interim manager Sam Perlozzo was ejected for the second time. It didn't seem so important that the Orioles were battered as a team.

Of far greater concern was the health of one player, a symbol of what went right in the first half, and how drastically their luck has changed.

Brian Roberts suffered a season-ending dislocation of his left elbow after colliding with Bubba Crosby in the second inning, a frightening scene in a 12-9 loss to the New York Yankees that was filled with disturbing images.

Crosby laid down a bunt after Bernie Williams singled and moved to second base on a balk. Roberts reached for B.J. Surhoff's throw while covering first, and Crosby ran into his arm.

The impact sent Roberts sprawling to the ground, the pain so severe that he couldn't retrieve the ball as Williams scored.

"Nobody really knew what to do," said Surhoff, who chased after the ball from the third base side of the mound. "After a while it was pretty obvious he wasn't going to pick it up. But it was more important to make sure he was all right. I was trying to comfort him any way I could."

Replays showed how the collision twisted Roberts' arm in a grotesque manner. He walked off the field bent at the waist.

"You feel for the player," Perlozzo said. "This kid plays 100 percent all the time. You just hate to see something like that."

The Orioles' medical staff popped the elbow back into place, and Roberts spent the night at a local hospital. An All-Star season that included a two-run triple last night ended with Roberts batting .314 with 18 homers and 73 RBIs.

"You lose Brian Roberts, it's like you lose half the team," Melvin Mora said.

Crosby said he wanted to visit Roberts last night.

"Listening to him, you could tell he was in some serious pain," Crosby said. "My stomach just dropped. He and I played together on the USA team back in '97."

Once in the dugout, Perlozzo realized that Crosby hadn't been called out for running inside the baseline. He charged plate umpire Sam Holbrook and gestured wildly after the ejection, revealing a temper that had been kept under wraps.

"I was just upset that my player was in tremendous pain," Perlozzo said. "It wasn't the umpire's fault that it happened."

Maine (2-2) fell behind 4-0 in the first inning, the last three runs scoring on Jorge Posada's homer. The Orioles responded with three in the second against Aaron Small (9-0), but Maine was overmatched in his seventh major league start.

After Crosby's bunt, Maine fielded Derek Jeter's bouncer, turned toward second and lost control of the ball. Everyone was safe except Maine, who had his shortest career outing with the Orioles (70-80). He was charged with six earned runs.

"I had decent location, a decent curveball," Maine said. "It's frustrating. They're a good team."

Gary Sheffield hit a grand slam off James Baldwin to give the Yankees a 9-3 lead and help them remain a half game behind Boston in the American League East.

Small became the first Yankee to win his first nine decisions since Tommy John in 1979. Scott Proctor surrendered a two-run homer to Jay Gibbons in the seventh.

Jorge Julio gave up a homer to Alex Rodriguez in the eighth, and Sheffield added his sixth RBI.

"It hasn't been a good second half, for whatever reasons," Perlozzo said. "You can pick one of a dozen."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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