New York (88-52) at Baltimore (64-74)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Baltimore, MD
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Sep 10, 2004
  • TV: YES, ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The last time the Yankees saw Rodrigo Lopez, their bats went silent and Kevin Brown took his frustrations out on a wall in the clubhouse.

The AL East-leading Yankees will look for better results against Lopez and the Orioles when they open a three-game series at Camden Yards.

Lopez pitched 7 1-3 brilliant innings against the Yankees in New York last Friday, yielding one run and six hits while striking out seven and walking two in a 3-1 victory.

“Just a tremendous game. To shut down a team like this after the first inning, that’s a pretty good job,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said of Lopez.

But the big story wasn’t Lopez’s dominance, but rather Brown’s erratic behavior.

The veteran right-hander left the game after six innings and slammed his non-pitching hand into a wall in frustration, breaking two bones. Brown had surgery on the hand Sunday and will be out at least three weeks, if not for the remainder of the season.

New York lost the first two games to Baltimore, but has rebounded with five straight wins, including a doubleheader sweep of Tampa Bay on Thursday.

After breezing to a 9-1 victory behind right-hander Mike Mussina in the opener, the Yankees pounded the Devil Rays 10-5 in the nightcap as Gary Sheffield and Tony Clark drove in two runs apiece during a seven-run, second-inning.

New York also increased its lead in the East to 3 1/2 games over Boston, marking the first time they’ve picked up ground on the Red Sox since Aug. 23.

“You can’t worry about Boston unless you’re playing Boston,” shortstop Derek Jeter said. “The bottom line is they can’t catch us if we’re winning.”

The Orioles had Thursday off after dropping two of three to Minnesota, including Wednesday’s 9-0 defeat. Baltimore has dropped three of four overall.

New York has won 12 of 16 meetings with Baltimore this season, including five of six at Camden Yards.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Vazquez Mia vs. R. Lopez Phi
14-10 Record 14-9
4.91 ERA 3.59
150 K 121
60 BB 54
1.29 WHIP 1.28