Yankees 8, Orioles 7
Coming off an overpowering sweep at Camden Yards last week, the Yankees again bolted ahead behind Derek Jeter’s two solo home runs. The Orioles rallied in the ninth inning, only to fall short 8-7 Tuesday night.
“We had a big lead,” Rivera said after barely holding on. “All of a sudden, a single and a walk, and I was in. But that’s not an excuse.”
Down 8-3, the Orioles made it interesting when Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez each hit two-out, two-run singles off Rivera. With two on, B.J. Surhoff hit a slicing liner that left fielder Hideki Matsui caught to end it.
“I’m proud of my guys, the way they battled back,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. “When you do it against a guy like Mo, it’s something.”
The Yankees beat the Orioles three times and outscored them 41-17 in the series at Baltimore. For a while, this one looked like a repeat performance.
“I’m happy with the way we’re swinging it,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
The AL East-leading Yankees opened a 12-game homestand by winning for the seventh time in eight games. They ended Baltimore’s four-game winning streak and left Mazzilli still looking for his first victory against New York, where he coached the previous four seasons.
Baltimore outhit the Yankees 14-13. The Orioles have gotten at least 13 hits in seven straight games.
Sidney Ponson (3-6) fell to 3-10 against the Yankees. He matched a career high by allowing 12 hits after getting tagged by New York last week.
The supposed ace of the Orioles, Ponson has given up seven or more runs in six of his last 10 starts.
“It’s a puzzle for everybody. I don’t know what’s going on. Hopefully, I can get it back together,” Ponson said.
Said Mazzilli: “He’s still your guy you’ve got to go to, you know. Whenever he goes to the mound, I have not lost any confidence in him.”
Jeter drove in a run for his eighth straight game—extending his career-long streak—and had four hits.
Batting only .190 last week, the All-Star shortstop raised his average to .233. Jeter also had an RBI double and a single.
Matsui, the AL player of the week, reached for a high pitch and lined a two-run homer. He has 15 hits in his last 29 at-bats.
Ruben Sierra hit an RBI single in the fifth that put the Yankees ahead 4-3. Jeter led off the sixth with a home run and Posada homered later in the inning. Jeter connected again in the eighth, giving him five career multihomer games.
Rivera relieved with one out in the ninth after the Orioles loaded the bases and held on for his 19th save in 20 chances. Opposing hitters had been 0-for-22 against him with runners in scoring position until Tejada stopped that string.
A pitcher who relies greatly on routine, Mussina got off to a shaky start— rain held up the first pitch for 40 minutes—and Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice threw out the first ball right before Mussina started to warm up.
Peeved with a couple of ball-strike calls, Mussina gave up two quick runs, starting with an RBI single by AL batting leader Melvin Mora. Mussina, a six-time Gold Glove winner, later failed to look back Mora at third base on a tapper by Lopez, and another run scored.
Posada led off the second with a routine high fly that center fielder Luis Matos lost in the lights. The ball fell behind him for a double, Matsui homered and Jeter hit an RBI double.
Brian Roberts doubled and scored on Tejada’s single in the fifth, tying itat 3.
Yankees CF Kenny Lofton has a strained left hamstring, an MRI exam showed Tuesday, and will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 27. RHP Bret Prinz will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus. … Orioles OF Jay Gibbons did not play for the seventh straight game because of a bad back. … Yankees 1B-DH Jason Giambi, on the disabled list because of a sprained right ankle, is scheduled to start a rehabilitation assignment with Class A Tampa on Wednesday. … A fan tumbled hard out of the left-field stands reaching for Roberts’ double in the fifth. The man was OK, but was led out by security. … Mora extended his hitting streak to 14 games. He fouled out inthe ninth, almost getting hit in the head when Posada tossed his mask.