Yankees 5, Orioles 4, 12 innings
BALTIMORE (AP)—Jack Cust provided an appropriate ending to an extraordinary game.
The Baltimore Orioles’ rookie had already fallen once rounding third base, and was in the midst of a rundown when he suddenly realized there was no one covering the plate.
All Cust had to do was outrun New York third baseman Aaron Boone the final 10 feet to create a 12th-inning tie. But Cust tripped again and was tagged for the final out in the Yankees’ 5-4 victory Saturday night.
“He had a free trip to home, and he tripped and fell,” Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. “Those things happen.”
Not very often, though.
“It was bizarre, certainly,” Boone said.
“We lucked out,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “I don’t even want to see a replay. I’d just as soon go home, go to sleep and wake up tomorrow.”
Jason Giambi hit his 35th homer with two outs in the top of the 12th as the Yankees dealt Baltimore its sixth straight loss.
“I tried to plant, but my feet just gave out,” Cust said. “It’s the grass. It’s just soft.”
Second baseman Alfonso Soriano made a low relay throw to third, and Cust was caught in a rundown. As he saw the clear path to the plate and tried to get into high gear, he stumbled facefirst to the ground and was easily tagged out.
Seldom-used John Flaherty hit two home runs for the Yankees, who survived three Baltimore homers and a rare mistake by Torre, who failed to notice that the Orioles batted out of order while scoring a first-inning run.
Because he didn’t point out the miscue, the run counted.
“I told the players, `Thanks for bailing me out. You saved my bacon, guys,”’ Torre said.
Giambi was 1-for-5 with three strikeouts before sending a 1-0 pitch from Hector Carrasco (1-4) far over the center-field wall.
Chris Hammond (3-1) pitched two innings and Nelson got three outs for his eighth save—his first with the Yankees since arriving on Aug. 6 in a trade with Seattle.
Baltimore’s six-game skid matches a season high. Five of the losses have been by one or two runs, and Baltimore held the lead in all but one of the games.
This one hurt the most.
“I never saw one like that,” Hargrove said. “We just haven’t caught a break during this stretch.”
Actually, the Orioles were lucky to get away with a huge mistake in the first inning.
“I always check the lineup card with the one on the wall, and over the last few years we’ve caught a couple,” Torre said. “But we never registered because the person never got a hit. … It was the most miserable game I’ve ever been through.”
Derek Jeter got his 1,500th career hit and Boone had two hits for the Yankees.
Flaherty, a backup catcher, entered with two home runs in 27 games. It was his sixth career two-homer game, the first since 1999.
But Matos tied it in the ninth with his 10th homer.
“We battled, but we just couldn’t close the deal,” Hargrove said.
Morban put Baltimore up 2-1 in the third with his second home run, a drive that barely cleared the left-field wall. Fordyce hit his fifth homer, the third in eight games, to make it 3-1 in the fourth.
Flaherty led off the fifth with a shot to left, the 17th home run allowed byOrioles starter Pat Hentgen in 21 games this year.
Fordyce has one less homer than in the previous two seasons combined. … New York improved the majors’ best road record to 41-23. … Soriano went0-for-6 and is 2-for-17 in the series.