BALTIMORE -- Adam Loewen doesn't have a 100 mph fastball, and few would describe his offspeed pitches as wicked.
"It looks like you'd want to go up there and hit against him," New York Yankees manager Joe Torre said, "but you'd come back empty."
Loewen entered with one win in eight starts and a 6.44 ERA, but he couldn't have been much better over 6 1/3 innings against the AL East leaders. The left-hander struck out eight, walked five and retired 11 straight during one stretch.
"I don't think I have ever pitched like that in my career against such a great team," Loewen said. "It feels good to get that one out of the way, and hopefully there are a lot more of them to come. I can't say enough about the great defense today."
New York's lone hit was a clean first-inning single to right by Bobby Abreu. Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada made two outstanding plays on grounders in the hole, robbing Jorge Posada and Craig Wilson of hits.
Tejada went 3-for-4 and scored twice, and the Orioles scored three runs off Mike Mussina to end New York's five-game winning streak.
But the postgame talk centered on Loewen, a former first-round draft pick whose performance belied his unimpressive won-lost record and lofty ERA.
"He definitely threw a great game," said Johnny Damon, who went 0-for-2 with a walk against the rookie. "His record is no indication of what kind of pitcher he is."
After Baltimore took a 5-0 lead in the sixth, Loewen (2-3) began to struggle. He opened the seventh by walking Alex Rodriguez on four pitches, then walked Jason Giambi.
"The way we've been playing lately, you feel every little thing is going to spark something," Torre said. "But we never could put any pressure on him. We just kept spinning our wheels."
After a visit to the mound by manager Sam Perlozzo, Loewen struck out Posada before being lifted. As he walked off the mound, many in the crowd of 49,159 stood and applauded his finest performance -- and longest stint -- in the big leagues.
"I'm adapting to my environment," Loewen said. "I think I just feel more comfortable out there."
Said Perlozzo: "I like his makeup for the future. It's something where you sit there and say, next year we've got ourselves a guy."
Todd Williams came in and got Wilson to hit into a double play to end the inning. Williams then worked a perfect eighth before LaTroy Hawkins got three straight outs, striking out two.
Mussina (13-4) gave up three runs and six hits in five innings. The right-hander was 5-0 in his last seven starts and had not lost since June 15.
"Three runs, five innings, he kept us in the game," Torre said. "But we weren't going anywhere."
Posada went 0-for-2, but with his 81st start at catcher this season, his $12 million option for 2007 became guaranteed.
Yankees second baseman Miguel Cairo left in the third inning with a strained left hamstring and could be out for "a couple of weeks," Torre said.
New York's threatened in the first inning. Derek Jeter drew a one-out walk and took second on a single by Abreu. Rodriguez flied out to left, and Jeter was thrown out trying to steal third.
The Orioles went up 3-0 in the second. After Tejada led off with a double and scored on a single by Jay Gibbons, Mussina walked Ramon Hernandez and Nick Markakis in succession to load the bases with two outs. Brian Roberts fell behind 0-2 in the count, then concluded a nine-pitch at-bat with a two-run single.
"Moose looked like he tried to throw harder. He wasn't as smooth, delivery-wise," Torre said. "You don't see him walk people, fall behind in the count like he did. After that he seemed to smooth it out a little bit."
Baltimore added two runs in the sixth against Ron Villone. Tejada hit a leadoff single and took third on a one-out single by Jeff Conine before Corey Patterson singled in a run and Markakis hit a run-scoring grounder.
New York right-hander Jose Veras pitched two scoreless innings in his big league debut.
- Jeter's season-high 13-game hitting streak ended.
- It was only the second times the Yankees have been blanked.
- Mussina's strikeout of Markakis in the fourth was his 1,000th as a Yankee. He fetched the ball before leaving the mound.