Yankees 4, Orioles 2

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NEW YORK (AP)—Andy Pettitte once again proved to be a big Baltimore nemesis.

Pettitte tied a career high with his seventh straight victory, picking on a familiar opponent in pitching the New York Yankees to a 4-2 triumph Wednesday night that stopped the Orioles’ six-game winning streak.

“Pettitte was Pettitte,” Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. “Andy is one of the top pitchers in the American League and he showed why tonight.”

Pettitte improved to 16-4 against Baltimore. That’s the second-best mark over the Orioles among any pitcher ever—topped only by Don Larsen at 13-3.

Then again, Pettitte has been doing well against a lot of teams.

Pettitte (12-6) became the first pitcher to win at least 12 games in his first nine seasons starting with his rookie year since Hall of Famer Stan Coveleski did it for Cleveland from 1916-26.

“I’ve been able to stay healthy enough to go out there and make enough starts to win 12 every season,” Pettitte said.

“It’s something I’m very proud of,” he said. “It’s being part of a good team here.”

Hideki Matsui hit a go-ahead single in a three-run sixth inning and Raul Mondesi homered to lead off the seventh. The Yankees handed the Orioles their first loss since the All-Star break.

Jesse Orosco, the Yankees’ latest—and late—arrival, got loose in the eighth but was not needed. Acquired Tuesday night in a trade with San Diego, the 46-year-old reliever left the West Coast headed for Baltimore, where he thought the game was being played.

Orosco was rerouted when he got to Nashville, Tenn., and made it to Yankee Stadium in the sixth. By the end of the inning, he already had changed into his No. 47 jersey and was greeting his new teammates in the bullpen.

“Long journey,” Orosco said. “There was a mix-up on something, but it worked out.”

Pettitte shut down the Orioles on one run and four hits through seven innings. He was pulled after his 99th pitch, giving up a leadoff homer to Deivi Cruz in the eighth.

The Orioles boarded a train from Baltimore after capping a 6-0 homestand Tuesday with a 12-6 win over Texas.

“If ever there was a time to face the Yankees, this is it,” Hargrove said at the time. But instead of posting their longest winning streak since a 13-game string in 1999, they were stopped by Pettitte and relievers Armando Benitez and Mariano Rivera.

Tony Batista’s RBI single put the Orioles ahead 1-0 in the second. Left fielder Melvin Mora preserved the lead by reaching above the fence to rob Mondesi on a home run in the third.

Mora was back in the lineup after missing two games when he was hit in the face by a pitch from Anaheim’s John Lackey on Sunday. Mora banged into the padded wall after his catch.

“I wondered if it made his head hurt, but he came through it well,” Hargrove said.

Rick Helling (6-7) blanked the Yankees until the sixth. Alfonso Soriano led off with a single, stole second and scored the tying run on Derek Jeter’s single.

Matsui and Robin Ventura added RBI singles. Bernie Williams, who began the day in a 6-for-58 slump, hit his second single of the game in the go-ahead inning.

Mondesi hit his 16th home run.

After Cruz hit his 12th homer, Benitez took over and pitched a perfecteighth. Rivera worked the ninth for his 19th save in 20 chances.

Notes

Yankees 1B Jason Giambi returned to the lineup after an early exit in Monday night’s game because of mild stiffness in his back. Tuesday night’s game against Toronto was rained out. … The Orioles opened a nine-game road trip. … Pettitte’s seven wins have come in a span of eight starts. … Eric DuBose pitched a perfect eighth for the Orioles. He was promoted from Triple-A Ottawaon Tuesday.

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