Yankees 2, Orioles 1

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NEW YORK (AP)—Kevin Brown returned to the mound for the Yankees and looked as if he hadn’t been away. Then, New York learned it will be without ailing slugger Jason Giambi for a while.

Brown pitched into the seventh inning in his first start in more than seven weeks, leading the Yankees to a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.

“It was great to be back on the mound,” said Brown, activated from the disabled list before the game after being sidelined since June 10 with a lower back spasm and an intestinal parasite.

“When you go out there, you realize how much you miss it,” he said after allowing one run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. “Sitting around and waiting was tough.”

Giambi knows the feeling. He’s been anxious to find out what’s been making him so weak the past few weeks, and the team announced after the game that the All-Star first baseman has a benign tumor.

Giambi was placed on the 15-day disabled list and will be treated immediately. The team, citing privacy issues, declined to divulge where the tumor is or what type of treatment Giambi will undergo.

“I am relieved that they found something that is treatable and I look forward to getting well, coming back strong and helping the Yankees win,” Giambi said in a statement.

Giambi, the 2000 AL MVP, is batting only .221 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. He’s been feeling fatigued virtually all season, and was diagnosed with a parasite on June 29. He tried to play through it, but began to feel increasingly weaker.

Giambi underwent a battery of tests at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center earlier this week to determine what has ailed him.

General manager Brian Cashman said the tumor is what caused the increasing fatigue and weakness Giambi has experienced, and the team is optimistic the slugger will be back before the end of the season.

“I think the next few days, he’ll be treated and we’ll see how he’s feeling,” Cashman said. “He has to get his strength back and then we’ll take it from there.”

On the night before baseball’s trade deadline—with speculation swirling about whether the Yankees will be able to strike a deal with Arizona for Randy Johnson—Brown gave New York’s starting rotation a big lift.

Brown (8-1) struck out five and walked two, throwing 88 pitches.

“For someone who missed two months in the season, he gave us everything we needed,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “He got loose quickly, and that was a good sign.”

Brown said he lost 15 pounds before being treated for his parasite, and said he’s still not 100 percent. Even so, he was happy with his first outing back with the team.

“I’m very pleased to be where I’m at compared to where I was at this time last week because I was still struggling then,” he said. “I know there’s still room for improvement.”

Tom Gordon struck out the side in the eighth, and Mariano Rivera got three outs for his major league-leading 36th save. Rivera, who blew his previous two chances, has 319 saves, moving him past Rick Aguilera for 10th on the career list—one behind Roberto Hernandez.

“That’s basically what the manager draws up: Brown goes, then (Paul) Quantrill, then Gordon, then Mo,” Torre said. “They all did the job.”

The Yankees gave the Orioles four outs in the seventh when Brown struck out B.J. Surhoff for what appeared to be the second out, but Surhoff reached when the ball bounced away from catcher Jorge Posada for a wild pitch.

Brown left to a standing ovation from the crowd of 51,551 at Yankee Stadium. Quantrill came in and gave up a single to Jerry Hairston before getting the last two outs of the inning.

Alex Rodriguez homered to tie it in the fourth, and gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Kenny Lofton, Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield each hit one-out singles to load the bases. On a 3-2 pitch, Rodriguez just missed a grand slam, hooking a pitch from Daniel Cabrera (8-5) a few feet outside the left-field foul pole. Rodriguez lined the next pitch into left field. Surhoff made a nice catch, and Lofton scored easily.

“It was a well-played game all around,” said Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli, who fell to 2-9 against the team he used to coach for.

Surhoff gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the third with his fourth homer, stroking an 0-1 pitch from Brown into the right-field seats to lead off the inning.

Cabrera pitched well coming off his worst big league start Sunday, when he allowed eight runs and 11 hits in an 8-4 loss against Minnesota. The rookie right-hander allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings.

“That was one of the best games maybe I had in my life,” Cabrera said. “I had a couple maybe better than that, but not against that team.”


To make room for Brown, the Yankees optioned right-hander Bret Prinz to Triple-A Columbus. The team will also recall outfielder Bubba Crosby from Columbus to take Giambi’s place. … Rodriguez is 0-for-8 with the bases loaded, but has driven in three runs on sacrifice flies.

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