O's KO Yanks in 1st

7-run inning chases Mussina

Cabrera wins third straight

Orioles 12 Yankees 2

May 21, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

NEW YORK -- The "Mooooose" chant that Orioles fans showered down on their former ace for many successful seasons started just before 7:10 last night when Mike Mussina prepared to deliver his first pitch for the New York Yankees.

About 30 minutes later, the chant was replaced by a steady chorus of boos as Mussina ducked into the dugout after one of the most difficult starts of his 18-year-career.

Taking advantage of Derek Jeter's throwing error that prolonged the first inning, the Orioles scored seven times in the inning off Mussina, who recorded just two outs in a 12-2 Orioles rout that included a bench-clearing confrontation in the top of the sixth inning.

Three innings after Daniel Cabrera hit Jeter with a fastball, forcing the shortstop from the game with a bruised left hand, Yankees reliever and former Oriole LaTroy Hawkins threw two consecutive high pitches that nearly hit Luke Scott.

After the second one, which immediately led plate umpire Chuck Meriwether to eject Hawkins, Scott took a couple of steps toward the Yankees reliever and the benches and bullpens cleared.

Replays appeared to show that Scott said to Hawkins, "Come on, man, not at my head." Hawkins, who had buzzed Aubrey Huff with a fastball two batters earlier, put his arms out and yelled back, but there was no further incident.

It was not lost on several Orioles that the two players nearly hit by Hawkins, a popular figure in the team's clubhouse in 2005, were not his former teammates.

"Of course it was [intentional]," Scott said. "I understand there are certain things that happen in this game, and you have to protect your players. There is a certain way to go about it, and that was not it. You never throw at anybody's head with intention. You can injure somebody's life. You can injure somebody's career."

Hawkins denied it was intentional, saying: "I'm not that type of person. He thought what he wanted to think. The way it looked, he had a reason to think like that. But it wasn't intentional."

None of the Orioles was buying it. When asked whether Hawkins threw at Scott on purpose, manager Dave Trembley said: "You're trying to get me to say something that's fairly obvious. I didn't just fall out of a truck. Come on."

The incident marred the eighth win in their past 10 games for the Orioles (24-20). Scott got his personal revenge on the Yankees (20-25), who have lost four straight, by slamming a two-run homer into the upper deck in right field in the eighth inning.

That capped the best offensive night of the season for the Orioles. Adam Jones had a career-high four hits and four RBIs, and Kevin Millar added a solo homer for the Orioles, who made the listless Yankees pay for two fielding miscues that resulted in seven unearned runs -- and nine total -- in the first two innings.

The Orioles' lead never appeared in danger, not with Cabrera pounding the strike zone. He won his third straight start and turned in his eighth consecutive quality start. Cabrera (5-1) allowed five hits and no walks over seven innings, with the only damage coming from a sixth-inning home run by Alex Rodriguez.

"When you have a lot of run support, it's always good," Cabrera said.

Mussina, 39, entered the game having won five consecutive starts. The right-hander should have gotten out of the first inning with only one run allowed. However, Jeter's throw on Scott's routine grounder pulled first baseman Jason Giambi off the bag and kept the inning alive for the Orioles.

Mussina (6-4) then issued a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk to Ramon Hernandez. Jones followed with a three-run double, Freddie Bynum hit an RBI single and Brian Roberts lined an RBI triple.

Mussina has made 512 career starts, and last night's equaled the shortest of his career, which came on July 13, 1995, at Camden Yards against the Kansas City Royals while Mussina was with the Orioles.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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