Loewen beat the Yankees for the second time in August, and four relievers combined for shutout relief in a a 3-2 victory Wednesday night that stopped the Orioles' five-game losing streak.
"To get up for today's start in this ballpark is a unique experience," said Loewen, a 22-year-old left-hander. "I don't think I take it more seriously than any other start, but I do take into account they do have a good lineup, and you're a little bit more careful."
Nine hours after the groundbreaking across the street for the new Yankee Stadium, Loewen made a memorable debut in the old one.
In his 14th major league appearance, Loewen (3-4) threw a career-high 107 pitches, allowing two runs and four hits with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. On Aug. 5, he yielded one hit over 6 1/3 innings during a 5-0 win over New York at Camden Yards.
"He cuts his fastball. He throws a four-seamer," Johnny Damon said. "I thought we had some good swings against him. Some balls we hit hard found gloves."
Todd Williams, Tim Byrdak, LaTroy Hawkins and Chris Ray finished, with Ray getting six outs for his 28th save in 30 chances. The bullpen, which has the worst ERA in the American League, blew a two-run lead for Erik Bedard on Tuesday night in a 6-3 loss.
New York's AL East lead over the second-place Red Sox was cut to two games. After playing the Orioles on Thursday, the Yankees head to Boston for a five-game series that opens with a day-night doubleheader Friday.
"I like the way this team feels right now. It's good to be ahead," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Baltimore built a 3-0 lead with runs in the first three innings against Cory Lidle (1-2). Nick Markakis, moved up from ninth to second in the batting order, homered in the first.
"The funny thing about that," manager Sam Perlozzo said, "was I went out in the outfield to talk to Nick prior to the game, told him, 'Just relax. Don't do anything different. I don't expect you to try to hit the ball out of the ballpark."'
Then Markakis hit his sixth homer of the season.
"When he came in, I said, 'Look, I told you not to do that,"' Perlozzo remembered.
"It was funny," Markakis said.
Corey Patterson doubled in the second and Ramon Hernandez tripled past Alex Rodriguez at third, a ball that bounced past Melky Cabrera in the left-field corner. Lidle, who gave up five hits in 6 1/3 innings, walked three in the third, including Kevin Millar with the bases loaded.
Loewen didn't allow a run until the fifth, when Bernie Williams doubled leading off and Cabrera doubled with two outs. Williams' double was his 443rd, moving past Don Mattingly on the Yankees' career list behind only Lou Gehrig (535).
Robinson Cano hit an RBI single in the sixth, and Loewen left with runners on second and third after Bernie Williams grounded to first for the second out. Todd Williams relieved and threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Jorge Posada.
Derek Jeter grounded out to end the seventh against Hawkins after Cabrera singled, stole second with two outs and went to third when shortstop Miguel Tejada failed to cover second and Hernandez's throw went into center field.
Ray, who hadn't pitched since Aug. 8, relieved to start the eighth and gave up singles to Bobby Abreu and Rodriguez, whose liner to shortstop glanced off the glove of Tejada and into left field. Cano popped out, and Bernie Williams lined to second baseman Brian Roberts, who flipped to Tejada for the inning-ending double play.
Octavio Dotel returned to the major leagues 14 months after a ligament was replaced in his right elbow, and the hard-throwing righty threw 13 pitches in the eighth for the Yankees.
Dotel, operated on in June 2005, started by striking out Melvin Mora on eight pitches, his fastball reaching 97 mph, then gave up a single to Tejada and walked Jay Gibbons on four pitches. Scott Proctor relieved and escaped a bases-loaded jam when Millar grounded into a double play.
"I'm happy to be back," Dotel said. "Finally, I made it."
- Tejada got into a discussion with plate umpire Mark Carlson in the fifth after first base ump CB Bucknor called him out on a borderline checked swing.
- Abreu walked twice and reached 100 walks for the eighth straight season, tying the major league record shared by Max Bishop (1926-33) and Frank Thomas (1991-98), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.