Baltimore (55-63) at New York (67-52)

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Temp: 44° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Wed Aug 15, 2007
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Erik Bedard has been one of baseball’s best pitchers lately. No team, though, has been better in the second half than the New York Yankees.

Bedard looks to win his ninth straight decision and lead the Orioles to their fourth series win over the Yankees this season when the AL East rivals close a three-game set on Wednesday.

Bedard (12-4, 3.11 ERA) has been making a late-season case for the Cy Young Award, going 8-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his last 10 starts. He is fifth in the AL in ERA, first in batting average against (.212) and leads the majors in strikeouts (199).

Although he was denied a win in his seventh straight start, the Orioles ace turned in another strong outing Friday in Baltimore’s 6-5 victory over Boston. He allowed three runs - all in the eighth - and four hits in 7 2-3 innings while walking two and striking out seven.

Bedard has surrendered three runs or fewer in 17 of his last 18 starts. He is 8-1 with a 3.73 ERA in 14 road outings this season.

Bedard is 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA in nine career starts against New York, including 1-1 with a 4.18 ERA in four starts at Yankee Stadium. He’s faced the Yankees twice this year and won both times, allowing two runs and seven hits with 13 strikeouts in 14 innings.

Alex Rodriguez has had the most success of any current Yankee against the left-hander, batting .364 (8-for-22) with two home runs.

Bedard has a tough act to follow after teammate Daniel Cabrera pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning Tuesday in Baltimore’s 12-0 victory.

Aubrey Huff hit a grand slam and drove in five runs for the Orioles (55-63), who are 17-13 since the All-Star break.

“We got on them early,” Huff said. “That’s what you’ve got to keep doing. You’ve got to keep pounding runs against a team like that.”

Since June 18, when manager Dave Trembley took over, the Orioles are second in the AL with a .295 batting average and third with a .356 on-base percentage.

“We got big hits from a lot of different people but it’s pitching, especially here on the road playing here,” Trembley said. “You just got to keep going at them because of the lineup they have and the approach that they take, especially in this ballpark.”

Baltimore, which hasn’t won a season series against New York since 1997, is 7-4 versus the Yankees this season. The teams play two more three-game sets in September.

Kevin Millar is batting .405 (15-for-37) with three homers and six RBIs this season against New York.

Shutting out the Yankees at home was no small feat Tuesday considering they hit .384 (143-for-372) and averaged 11.6 runs in their previous 10 games at Yankee Stadium.

New York (67-52) had a four-game win streak snapped and dropped to a major league-best 24-9 in the second half. They fell five games behind East-leading Boston, but remained in a virtual tie with Seattle for the wild-card lead.

“That ballclub, in fact most ballclubs, are going to beat your brains out when you set them up in counts like we did,” manager Joe Torre said.

Melky Cabrera went 0-for-3 with two walks, ending his career-best 18-game hitting streak.

Phil Hughes (2-1, 4.64) looks to build on an outstanding performance when he makes his fifth major league start. The rookie right-hander was dominant in a 6-1 win at Cleveland on Friday, allowing one run and four hits in six innings while walking one and striking out six.

It was his second start since spending three months on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

Hughes has had two excellent starts on the road, but is 0-1 with a 10.00 ERA in two home outings, giving up 10 runs and 14 hits in nine innings.

This will be his first appearance against the Orioles.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Bedard TB vs. P. Hughes Min
13-5 Record 5-3
3.16 ERA 4.46
221 K 58
57 BB 29
1.09 WHIP 1.28

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Aug 15