O's flip script on Yankees

Orioles hit three homers to end four-game skid

Bedard goes strong for 6 for 1st win since July 23

Orioles 9 Yankees 4

Friday night's game

September 10, 2006|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

The situation has played out so many times in recent years at Camden Yards. The New York Yankees arrive for a September series in front of many of their fans and beat up on the hapless Orioles before moving on to bigger and better things.

For one night, the script was flipped. It was the Orioles who knocked a Yankees starter out early and then continued their onslaught against the vulnerable part of the visitor's bullpen. It was the Orioles who enjoyed a relatively angst-free night, while the Yankees were just happy to get the night over with.

With the Yankees cruising toward the playoffs and the Orioles again playing for little but pride, this four-game series will almost definitely have little impact on the standings. No matter, the Orioles' 9-4 victory on Friday night before 36,214 left the home team feeling pretty good about itself - an unusual feeling with the Yankees in town in September.

"It is definitely nice to beat these guys, especially at our place," said Orioles designated hitter Jay Gibbons, one of three Orioles to hit homers Friday night along with Melvin Mora and David Newhan. "There are a lot of Yankees fans here."

Gibbons' three-run second-inning homer, his first since July 30, gave the Orioles a 7-0 lead, providing plenty of margin of error for Erik Bedard. Feeling a little under the weather, Bedard (13-9) persevered through six solid innings for his first victory since July 23.

He allowed two earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out eight. The Orioles (62-78), who likely lost Ramon Hernandez for today's game at least after the catcher was hit by a pitch on his left ankle, broke a four-game losing streak and improved to a respectable 6-7 against the Yankees this season.

"It kind of felt like [Bedard] was a little queasy or something during the whole game, but that is just a sign of him going out and battling," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.

Asked if he felt sick , Bedard said, "a little bit ... maybe in the third [inning]."

In that inning, Bedard, pitching with a seven-run lead after the Orioles pounded New York starter Cory Lidle (3-3) for six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings, allowed a leadoff single to Craig Wilson and then walked Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon to load the bases with no outs.

Derek Jeter drove in the Yankees' first run and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games with an RBI single to right field. But Bedard struck out Bobby Abreu looking and after allowing a sacrifice fly to Alex Rodriguez, got Jason Giambi to end the inning on a foul out. The Yankees had cut the Orioles' lead to 7-2, but it could have been far worse.

"I just kind of hit a wall and I just tried to get out of it without giving up five runs," Bedard said. "You have to try and stay out of big innings and make pitches when you can."

The Yankees (83-56) got only one more hit off Bedard the rest of the way as the pitcher broke a seven-outing winless streak. He didn't pitch poorly during that stretch, allowing three runs or less in five of those seven starts. He just couldn't get a win.

"I haven't changed anything since the start of the season," said Bedard, whose 13 wins are one more than he had in his career before this season. " I couldn't win a game, but that stuff happens."

Yankees manager Joe Torre had little patience with his starter, yanking Lidle after the right-hander managed to get just five outs. Lidle allowed a two-run homer to Mora in the first inning, the 15th of the season for the Orioles third baseman.

Shortstop Miguel Tejada hit a two-run single with the bases loaded as part of the Orioles' five-run second. He entered the at-bat 0-for-9 with the bases loaded this season. He'd be the last hitter Lidle would face.

Gibbons hit Jose Veras' third pitch, an inside fastball, onto the flag court in right field for a three-run homer.

It was an especially rewarding swing for Gibbons, whose balky right knee, has sapped much of his power. It was his 12th home run, but only his second since May 16.

"It was honestly the first heater I turned on in probably six weeks," said Gibbons, who has trouble planting his lead knee and turning, meaning that he has had to learn to use his hands more to generate power. "I am getting by. Every day with [hitting coach Terry Crowley], it's kind of fun to make up a swing. I am doing well enough to stay in the lineup - not much better than that, though."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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