Orioles 7, Yankees 2

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NEW YORK (AP)—Melvin Mora’s line drive went up the middle, and Carl Pavano couldn’t get out of the way. The ball hit the right side of the pitcher’s head, and ricocheted into foul territory down the right-field line.

Pavano, who remained standing, reached for the right side of his head and immediately was taken out. Players on both teams called it a frightening spectacle, but the Yankees said he avoided serious injury. Taken to a hospital, Pavano was diagnosed with a mild concussion, then returned to Yankee Stadium shortly after the Baltimore Orioles completed Sunday’s 7-2 win over New York.

“Tests showed there was a brain,” he joked to Yankees spokesman Rick Cerrone.

Pavano, who declined to speak with reporters, went with the team to Boston for the three-game series against the Red Sox that opens Monday. Yankees physician Dr. Stuart Hershon said Pavano was fine, but Cerrone said it was too early to determine whether Pavano (0-1) would take his next scheduled turn in the rotation.

“I almost didn’t run when I saw the ball hit him,” said Mora, who found out during the game that Pavano apparently was OK. Mora had been hitless in his previous 19 at-bats.

“It happened so fast, I had to tell myself to run,” he said. “I was just thinking maybe he was bleeding or something.”

Yankees teammate Mike Mussina, then with the Orioles, was hit in the face by a liner off the bat of Cleveland’s Sandy Alomar Jr. in May 1998, a ball that broke his nose and cut his face.

“I was out for about three weeks, but I was scared for about two months,” Mussina said.

Baltimore pitcher Rodrigo Lopez (2-0) also was hit during the game, in the side by a ball off the bat of Hideki Matsui.

“It just feels like a burning for a minute,” Lopez said after his dominating performance. “It’s much better now. It’s not a problem.”

One day after wasting a four-run lead in an 8-5 loss, Baltimore had 14 hits and won a series at Yankee Stadium for the first time since 1997, taking two of three and getting 43 hits in the series.

Lopez, who beat Oakland 4-0 in Baltimore’s opener, allowed six hits in eight innings, struck out eight and walked two.

“I told him before the game that I need you today,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. “Our bullpen was a little bit tired after going three days in a row.”

Lopez improved to 3-1 in five starts at Yankee Stadium and 5-3 overall against New York.

“It’s probably as good as I’ve seen him pitch,” the Yankees’ Derek Jeter said.

Pavano got hit one pitch after first baseman Jason Giambi let Mora’s foul popup kick off his glove for an error. Baltimore got three runs in the inning off Tanyon Sturtze, all unearned.

Giambi had looked toward the seats to see how much room he had.

“As soon as I looked up, I looked into the sun and then I lost it,” he said.

Baltimore had gone ahead in the second on an RBI single by Luis Matos after Rafael Palmeiro stole second, getting a big jump on Pavano.

Miguel Tejada greeted Sturtze with an single and Javy Lopez’s two-run double made it 4-0. Palmeiro had an RBI single and Jay Gibbons hit a sacrifice fly in the two-run fifth, and Brian Roberts homered off Paul Quantrill in the sixth.

Lopez meanwhile, didn’t allow a hit through four innings and led 6-0 going to the bottom of the fifth. After Giambi singled leading off, Jorge Posada took New York out of a potentially big inning when he jogged up the first-base line, thinking his drive to right-center was a home run.

The ball hit off the fence, and Posada made it only to first as Giambi went to third. Posada promptly was erased on a run-scoring double play when Bubba Crosby grounded to shortstop, and Tony Womack and Derek Jeter followed with singles before Alex Rodriguez struck out.

“There’s no excuse. I’ve got to be at second base,” said Posada, who apologized to manager Joe Torre and said it wouldn’t happen again. “I know I made a mistake.”


Posada also missed the tag in the fifth on Gibbons’ sacrifice fly to right, with Tejada sliding around the catcher, who had to move to his right for Gary Sheffield’s throw. Tejada slapped the plate as he slid by. … Torre expects RHP Kevin Brown (back pain) to come off the DL in time to start April 17 at Baltimore. … Palmeiro had three hits. … Bernie Williams, in a 1-for-16 slide, did not start but pinch-hit in the ninth and singled.

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