Sabathia baffles Orioles on way to 15-3 Yankee win

O's pitchers allow five home runs, including A-Rod's 22nd career grand slam

April 23, 2011|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

Saturday's drama between the Orioles and New York Yankees peaked in the late innings, when the Bronx Bombers completed a home-run cycle, witnessed their superstar make more baseball history and then watched as one of their hottest players got drilled in the back with a pitch after homering twice.

The game itself, though, was basically over after 10 pitches.

Paced by another gem from ace CC Sabathia, the Yankees embarrassed the Orioles 15-3 on Saturday night in front of an announced crowd of 39,054, the majority of which was wearing pinstripes and chanting, "Let's Go Yankees."

"It's really tough to swallow," said Orioles starter Brad Bergesen (0-3), who allowed six runs in six innings. "To get beat by 12 runs tonight, with that many Yankee fans, it's not fun whatsoever."

The outcome, though, has become the norm when these two American League East teams face off. The first-place Yankees (11-6) are now 40-17 against the Orioles since the start of 2008, and have won 27 of the last 34 match-ups.

Making things worse, the Orioles (8-11) lost again to Sabathia, who entered battling flu-like symptoms and exited with his ninth win in 10 decisions at Camden Yards. He is 15-2 versus the Orioles in his career.

The big lefty's .900 winning percentage at Camden Yards is the best for anyone who has started at least 10 times in the park's 20 seasons and his .882 winning percentage is tops against the Orioles in their modern-day history (minimum 20 starts).

"He was good tonight. He's good a lot of nights, but that's probably the best I've seen all three of his pitches working at the same time," said Orioles catcher Matt Wieters. "His breaking ball, his changeup, he had his fastball working. He was just sitting on the outside corner and he's tough to beat when you do that. He's also tough to beat if you give him 15 runs."

Sabathia (1-1) made the Orioles' bats look sickly, retiring the first 11 in order before Derrek Lee's single with two outs in the fourth. Sabathia's only real mistake came in the seventh, when Orioles center fielder Adam Jones hit a three-run homer, his team-leading fourth of the season.

Otherwise, Sabathia cruised, allowing six hits, one walk and striking out seven for his first win of the season. He was staked to a 3-0 lead before the Yankees saw their 11th pitch.

In the first two minutes of Saturday's thrashing, the Yankees scored three runs on four hits against Bergesen. The right-hander eventually settled, setting down 14 of 17 until the Yankees' three-run sixth, when catcher Russell Martin hit his first of two homers.

"It's a great hitting lineup, and like I said, (on) a couple pitches they really made it hurt tonight," said Bergesen, whose ERA is now 5.40. "This lineup, you're not going to get away with a whole lot and it was evident tonight."

Bergesen wasn't the only Orioles pitcher victimized: Jason Berken allowed a two-run homer to Jorge Posada and a solo shot to Martin in a seven-run eighth that was capped by the 22nd career grand slam by Alex Rodriguez against reliever Josh Rupe.

Rodriguez moved into second all-time in career grand slams while guaranteeing the Yankees the home-run cycle (solo, two-run, three-run and grand slam). It also gave Rodriguez six RBIs, placing him 10th all-time on the RBIs list with 1,847.

Rupe served up another home run in the ninth, a two-run shot to Brett Gardner. It occurred right after Rupe plunked Martin in the back — between his shoulder blades. Given Martin's night, it looked like a purpose pitch.

"Yes. There's no doubt about it," said Martin, who stared down Rupe but went to first base without incident. "I want to stay in the lineup so I'm not going to do anything stupid, but I wouldn't recommend him doing that again."

Afterward, Rupe denied throwing at Martin intentionally.

"I've already given up a home run (to Rodriguez) and, yeah, I was really pissed off," Rupe said. "But I'm not going to resort to possibly hurting a guy, and end his career or anything like that. There's no reason for me to do that. I'm not that type of guy."

Said Orioles manager Buck Showalter: "It did not look good. I didn't like it at all. But I choose to believe my pitcher and I've known Josh for a long time. I think he'd be very straight with me. But I do understand what it looked like and it didn't look good."

It wasn't the only the moment of tension between the teams. In the first inning, with Derek Jeter on first, Anne Arundel County native Mark Teixeira slammed a ball off the out-of-town scoreboard in right.

Right fielder Nick Markakis barehanded the ball and threw to shortstop Robert Andino as Teixeira slid hard into the second-base bag. As Teixeira bounced up, he and Andino tangled momentarily and then jawed at each other. Second base umpire Marvin Hudson got between the two to make sure the situation didn't escalate.

"He came in and slid and when he came up, he came up with a little shoulder (push) and I just told him, 'Hey, Relax. I'm just putting a tag on you.' That's it," Andino said. "We talked when I got to first base (in the sixth). Everything is cool."

Teixeira also dismissed the moment as, "not a big deal at all."

Ultimately, the Yankees got the last laugh, dropping the Orioles into last place for the first time this season while scoring their most runs in one game in roughly a season and a half.

"I'm glad they don't carry over," Showalter said. "I'm glad in a way that we've got a day game (Sunday). We'll have a challenge tomorrow and we'll see if we're up to it."

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