Hurting O's lose Roberts, too

2nd baseman dislocates elbow in Yanks' win

Sheffield: 6 RBIs

Yankees 12, Orioles 9


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 dislocated 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. He took a few steps, never letting go of the elbow, before Surhoff stopped him and waited for assistance.

Replays showed how the collision twisted Roberts' arm in a grotesque manner before he fell. He walked off the field bent at the waist as Perlozzo and assistant trainer Brian Ebel held him by the shoulders. Williams grimaced as he looked back at Roberts after crossing the plate.

The Orioles" medical staff popped the elbow back into place, and Roberts was taken to a local hospital to assess any further damage. He could miss the last 12 games, ending an All-Star season that included a run-scoring triple last night.

Once in the dugout, Perlozzo realized that Crosby hadn't been called out for running inside the baseline and initiating contact. He charged plate umpire Sam Holbrook and gestured wildly after the ejection, revealing a temper that had been kept under wraps since he replaced Lee Mazzilli as manager last month.

The Sept. 9 ejection in Seattle wasn't this entertaining. Perlozzo seemed calm by comparison.

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

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

Gary Sheffield hit a grand slam off James Baldwin, who threw 35 pitches in the inning, to give the Yankees a 9-3 lead and help them remain a half game behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.

Small became the first Yankee to win his first nine decisions since Tommy John in 1979. He allowed 10 hits in five-plus innings. Scott Proctor replaced him and surrendered a two-run homer to Jay Gibbons in the seventh.

Jorge Julio gave up a bases-empty homer to Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning, the fifth he's allowed in his last six appearances. Sheffield added his sixth RBI with a single that scored Tino Martinez.

Notes Perlozzo still isn't sure if first baseman Rafael Palmeiro will join the club on Friday. "I would hope by late tomorrow or certainly the next day that we"ll have a real good idea of what we"re expecting out of that." he said. Palmeiro hasn't played since Aug. 30 in Toronto because of a sore right knee and ankle, and he probably won't get many starts if he returns. "He knows that he's not going to play a lot if he does come back." Perlozzo said. "I would like to talk to Raffy and see what his plans are for next year and what he expected to accomplish the rest of this year, and then weigh those things and see whether he and I and the organization felt that it was the right way to go." Outfielder Sammy Sosa continues to rehab a toe injury and is less likely to return. A source who recently spoke to Sosa said, "He's doing better, but I suppose we're getting to the point where we're facing the possibility that he's had his last at-bat this season."

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