Yankees 10, Orioles 4
BALTIMORE (AP)—In his first season with New York, Alex Rodriguez overtook a Yankees great.
Rodriguez passed Joe DiMaggio on the career home run list, connecting twice and driving in five runs Tuesday night in the Yankees’ 10-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
“The key is not to become passive,” he said. “You still have to stay aggressive in the strike zone. When you get a pitch you can handle, put a good swing on it.”
It was his 35th multihomer game. The first home run was his 362nd, moving him past DiMaggio into 60th place on the career list.
“Alex was dynamite,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Rodriguez has 18 homers this season, including four in his last seven games.
Mike Mussina (8-4) overcame a rocky start to win his seventh straight decision. In his first game since leaving a June 11 outing with a groin injury, he lasted just five innings.
“I was trying to make sure that I didn’t do anything foolish,” he said. “But as it went on, I got a little more loose and a little more comfortable. I could tell it was getting a little tired when we decided that was enough.”
Best of all, he emerged healthy.
“I didn’t re-injure it, I didn’t hurt it,” said Mussina, who left after throwing 66 pitches.
Derek Jeter backed up the right-hander with a three-run homer that made it 6-3 in the second inning.
Miguel Tejada hit a three-run shot for the last-place Orioles, who have lost eight of nine and 22 of 30.
“It’s tough to stay upbeat and positive,” first baseman Rafael Palmeiro said, “but it’s our job to come out tomorrow and do our best.”
Playing their first season under manager Lee Mazzilli, a former coach with the Yankees, the Orioles are 0-7 against New York and have been outscored 70-35.
After speaking to reporters, Mazzilli threw his cap on the desk, walked away and let out a loud groan. He was infuriated by the walks, which increased the Orioles’ total this season to a major league-high 317.
“We’re beating ourselves by walking guys. You need to give your defense a chance,” he said. “I don’t want to think they’re scared to throw strikes, but they need to throw strikes.”
The game drew a crowd of 49,696—the largest in the 13-year history of Camden Yards.
Mussina gave up four runs in the first two innings, then kept the Orioles scoreless through the fifth before being lifted.
Mussina, who retired his final 12 batters, is 7-0 in 10 games since April 22. The right-hander is 8-3 against his former team.
“He was starting to get a little tired,” Torre said. “He thought he could pitch another inning, but we certainly were happy with what we got.”
Riley (1-3) walked the first two batters of the game before pitching coach Mark Wiley came out to talk to the left-hander. Rodriguez hit Riley’s next pitch over the right-field wall, ending a 4-for-26 skid.
Riley was pulled after the second inning with his ERA at an unsightly 8.56.
Jerry Hairston hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom half, but New York made it 7-4 in the third when Cairo hit an RBI single off John Parrish.
Lopez, who will join the starting rotation Saturday, issued four walks inthe sixth to force in a run and make it 8-4.
Jeter has a 21-game hitting streak at Camden Yards. … Orioles LF Larry Bigbie left in the third inning with muscle cramps in his right leg. … Yankees starter Jose Contreras left the team for Miami to join his wife and twochildren, who defected from Cuba this week.