Baltimore (51-68) at New York (70-46)

Partly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Aug 16, 2006
  • TV: CSN, YES
Preview | Box Score | Recap

New York Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon loves to play the Baltimore Orioles.

He’ll try to continue his run of success when the teams continue their three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.

Damon hit a two-run homer and added an RBI triple as the Yankees (70-46) rallied for a 6-3 victory in Tuesday’s series opener. He’s hit safely in nine of 10 games against the Orioles (51-68) this season, batting .356 (16-for-45) with four homers and seven RBIs.

In his career, Damon has 17 homers and 72 RBIs against Baltimore. Only his numbers against Tampa Bay (18 homers, 76 RBIs) are better.

New York trailed 3-1 in the seventh inning on Tuesday before Damon’s homer off LaTroy Hawkins tied the score and Robinson Cano’s RBI double gave the Yankees the lead.

“I know what he’s got. I’ve just been lucky,” Damon said of Hawkins. “I was cheating for a fastball and I got it. It was a fastball up, just like the one I swung through on the first pitch.”

Damon hit his RBI triple in the eighth and scored on Derek Jeter’s sacrifice fly to add insurance runs as the Yankees won for the third time in four games to take a three-game lead on Boston in the AL East. New York and Boston play a five-game series at Fenway Park this weekend.

“We can’t worry about Boston now. We have to play Baltimore,” Jeter said.

The Orioles matched a season-high with their fifth straight loss.

The only Baltimore starter to hold Damon hitless this season takes the mound for the Orioles on Wednesday, hoping to duplicate his last start against the Yankees.

Adam Loewen (2-4, 6.41 ERA) was on top of his game against New York on Aug. 5. Loewen allowed just one hit in 6 1-3 innings of the Orioles’ 5-0 victory and left to a standing ovation at Oriole Park.

“He definitely threw a great game,” said Damon, who went 0-for-2 with a walk. “His record is no indication of what kind of pitcher he is.”

The rookie left-hander has had rougher times, though, including against Boston on Friday when he allowed six runs and six hits in 2 1-3 innings, taking the loss in a 9-2 Baltimore defeat.

“We’ve known all along that Adam was taking steps,” Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said. “He’d take two forward, then one back. Hopefully, the next two will be forward for us.”

Loewen made his first career start against the Yankees on June 3, allowing four runs in five innings, but didn’t earn a decision.

Cory Lidle (1-1, 3.60) looks to last longer than in his previous outing when he starts for New York. Lidle, acquired from Philadelphia along with Bob Abreu before the trading deadline, lasted just four innings on Friday against the Angels, allowing four hits and three runs in a 7-4 loss.

He wasn’t feeling well and had to be removed from the game.

“Some kind of stomach virus or something,” Lidle said. “I haven’t been holding anything in.”

The defeat snapped a five-game winning streak for the right-hander, four of which came for the Phillies.

He’s 4-6 with a 4.77 ERA in 14 career games—10 starts—against Baltimore, but has faced the Orioles only once since 2003.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Loewen Phi vs. C. Lidle NYY
6-6 Record 12-10
5.37 ERA 4.85
98 K 130
62 BB 58
1.54 WHIP 1.40

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Aug 16