|N.Y. Yankees «||0||0||0||0||0||1||3||2||x||6||12||1|
Damon hit a tying home run off a familiar victim and Robinson Cano sliced an RBI double in the seventh inning as the Yankees battered Baltimore's beleaguered bullpen and sent the Orioles to their fifth straight loss, 6-3 Tuesday night.
"This was a big win because you beat one of their best pitchers," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We didn't beat him, but we won the game he pitched."
Third baseman Melvin Mora's leaping catch -- which sent him for X-rays on his left thumb -- helped Bedard exit with a 3-1 lead after six innings.
But Baltimore relievers have the worst ERA in the AL, and the Yankees were only too glad to tee off. Damon's drive made him 11-for-25 (.440) with four home runs lifetime against LaTroy Hawkins.
"I know what he's got. I've just been lucky," Damon said. "I was cheating for a fastball and I got it. It was a fastball up, just like the one I swung through on the first pitch."
The Orioles matched their longest losing streak of the season.
"We need to get a little better in our bullpen pitching," manager Sam Perlozzo said.
The Yankees increased their AL East lead over Boston to three games, with the teams heading toward a five-game series at Fenway Park this weekend.
"We can't worry about Boston now. We have to play Baltimore," Yankees star Derek Jeter said.
Melky Cabrera led off the seventh with a single against Hawkins (1-2) and Damon followed with his 17th homer. Damon has faced the Baltimore right-hander since their days in the rookie Gulf Coast League, and connected again.
"He knows there are certain pitchers he can take liberties with," Torre said.
The Yankees added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth when Damon hit an RBI triple and scored on Jeter's sacrifice fly off Chris Britton.
The Yankees improved to 7-3 against Baltimore, and the teams meet eight more times this year.
The Yankees began their comeback on Rodriguez's RBI single in the sixth. Mora preserved the lead when he jumped to backhand Jorge Posada's bases-loaded shot down the line.
Mora took off his glove and shook his hand as he brought the ball to the mound, and left the game.
"It feels better. We'll have to wait until tomorrow," he said.
The Orioles missed a chance to break it open when they failed to score after loading the bases with one out in the seventh. That gave the Yankees the opportunity they needed.
"It's never over for the Yankees," Mora said.
Millar broke a scoreless tie in the fifth with his 10th home run and the Orioles scored twice more in the sixth. Brian Roberts opened with a double, Mora singled and Jay Gibbons hit an RBI single with one out.
Jeff Conine followed with a grounder that could've become an inning-ending double play, but Rodriguez hurried and bobbled the ball. He rushed a wide throw to first, and his 21st error of the season allowed a run to score.
Rodriguez made his seventh error of the year while Mussina was pitching, matching the most in the majors for any fielder behind one pitcher, the Elias Sports Bureau said. Colorado third baseman Garrett Atkins has made seven with Jeff Francis on the mound.
|Johnny Damon rounds third base after blasting his 17th homer of the season. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Brian Roberts, 2B||4||1||2||0||1||1||1||.299|
|Melvin Mora, 3B||3||1||1||0||0||1||0||.282|
|Chris Gomez, 3B||2||0||1||0||0||0||1||.241|
|Miguel Tejada, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||5||.324|
|Jay Gibbons, DH||4||0||1||1||0||1||4||.274|
|Jeff Conine, LF||4||0||0||1||0||1||1||.270|
|Corey Patterson, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.279|
|Kevin Millar, 1B||4||1||2||1||0||0||2||.240|
|Ramon Hernandez, C||3||0||0||0||1||2||1||.258|
|Nick Markakis, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.297|
|2B - Brian Roberts (30, Mussina), Miguel Tejada (28, Mussina)|
|HR - Kevin Millar (10, Mussina)|
|RBI - Jay Gibbons (34), Jeff Conine (45), Kevin Millar (41)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|E - Nick Markakis (2, )|
|LaTroy Hawkins (BS,4; L,1-2)||0.2||3||3||3||1||0||1||4.76|
|IBB - Giambi by LaTroy Hawkins|
|Pitches-Strikes - Erik Bedard 106-62, LaTroy Hawkins 18-9, Tim Byrdak 6-5, Chris Britton 14-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Erik Bedard 8-4, LaTroy Hawkins 1-1, Chris Britton 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Erik Bedard 26, LaTroy Hawkins 6, Tim Byrdak 2, Chris Britton 6|
|New York Yankees|
|Johnny Damon, CF||5||2||2||3||0||0||2||.288|
|Derek Jeter, SS||4||1||1||1||0||1||0||.343|
|Bobby Abreu, RF||4||1||3||0||1||0||0||.291|
|Jason Giambi, DH||2||0||0||0||3||1||1||.257|
|Alex Rodriguez, 3B||4||0||1||1||0||1||4||.286|
|Robinson Cano, 2B||4||0||1||1||0||1||3||.329|
|Jorge Posada, C||4||0||1||0||0||2||5||.273|
|Craig Wilson, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.271|
|Melky Cabrera, LF||4||2||2||0||0||1||2||.285|
|2B - Bobby Abreu (29, Hawkins), Robinson Cano (22, Byrdak)|
|3B - Johnny Damon (4, Britton)|
|HR - Johnny Damon (17, Hawkins)|
|SF - Derek Jeter (3)|
|RBI - Johnny Damon 3 (58), Derek Jeter (71), Alex Rodriguez (86), Robinson Cano (32)|
|2-OUT RBI - Robinson Cano (12)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|E - Alex Rodriguez (21, )|
|New York Yankees|
|Scott Proctor (W,5-3)||1.2||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.72|
|Mariano Rivera (S,31)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||1.83|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Mussina 104-75, Ron Villone 9-5, Scott Proctor 18-13, Mariano Rivera 24-17|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Mussina 8-5, Mariano Rivera 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Mike Mussina 26, Ron Villone 2, Scott Proctor 6, Mariano Rivera 4|
|Attendance - 52418|
|Game Time - 3:24|
|Temperature - 81|
|Umpires - Home - Wally Bell, First Base - Mark Carlson, Second Base - C.B. Bucknor, Third Base - John Hirschbeck|