NEW YORK -- Cory Lidle figures he'll be pitching out of the bullpen in the playoffs. And he's hoping to get plenty of chances -- sort of.
Yankees manager Joe Torre is still trying to pick a fourth starter for next week's playoffs. The choice seems to be between Lidle and Jaret Wright, with the odd man out likely to wind up in long relief.
Lidle thinks the Yankees are leaning toward using him in relief and putting Wright in the rotation.
"It kind of looks like that's how it's playing itself out," Lidle said. "They haven't told me anything.
"If they use me out of the bullpen, I'd like to get some innings," he said. "But if I don't get in out of the bullpen, it's because our starters are doing good. So either way, it's a win-win situation."
Lidle pitched for the first time since Sept. 13, when he came down with tendinitis in his right forefinger. He went 6 2/3 innings in his longest outing since Philadelphia traded him to the Yankees -- he was 8-7 for the Phillies -- with Abreu on July 30.
"This was a real plus for us tonight," Torre said.
Lidle (4-3) gave up solo home runs to nemesis Jay Gibbons, Ramon Hernandez and Corey Patterson. The Yankees stayed tied with Detroit for the best record in the AL.
Torre said before the game he was looking for "sharpness" from Lidle more than results. The right-hander walked one, hit a batter with a pitch and gave up six hits.
Lidle was one strike away from seven full innings when Patterson homered on an 0-2 pitch and Kevin Millar followed with one of his four singles. Torre gave Lidle a pat on the shoulder when he came out to the mound to make a change.
"Cory Lidle is one of those guys when the game keeps going, he feels more comfortable," Abreu said.
Scott Proctor pitched the ninth for his first major league save, giving up Jeff Fiorentino's RBI single before stranding two runners.
The Orioles lost their third in a row. Manager Sam Perlozzo was ejected in the sixth when he argued that Miguel Tejada had checked his swing on an inside pitch that sent the Baltimore cleanup man spinning into the dirt.
Rodrigo Lopez (9-18) lost in relief of Hayden Penn, who left in the fourth because of a strained lower back.
Bounced from the rotation earlier this season, Lopez leads the majors in defeats. His loss total is the most for an Orioles pitcher since Pat Dobson dropped 18 in 1972.
"I think things will turn around for me, but maybe next year," Lopez said. "I've been working good, I feel strong. It just hasn't been working out for me."
Lopez went 51-40 for Baltimore the past four years before his losses mounted this season.
"It doesn't really matter to me whether it's 18 or 19. I just want to try to pitch and do the best I can," he said.
The Yankees, meanwhile, posted their 95th win. The AL East champions reached that mark for the sixth straight year -- the only other time they had such a streak was from 1949-57.
Cano hit a solo homer in the fourth that made it 2-all and Abreu lined a two-run shot the next inning. Those drives gave the Yankees a total of 200 home runs this season, and they joined the Chicago White Sox as the lone teams in major league history to hit that many in seven consecutive seasons.
Gary Sheffield added an RBI single in the seventh. He also had another solid game at first base, where he's been playing while Jason Giambi recovers from a bad left wrist.
Hernandez tied a career high with his 21st home run in the second. That gave him 83 RBI as a catcher, breaking the Orioles' record of 82 set by Chris Hoiles in 1993.
Gibbons connected in the fourth. He's 11-for-26 with four homers against Lidle.
Giambi missed his sixth straight game. He hit off a tee and in batting practice before the game, and Torre said he thought Giambi might play Wednesday. ... Former Minnesota manager Tom Kelly was in the seats, scouting the Yankees as a possible playoff opponent. Kelly is a special assistant to the general manager for the Twins. ... Penn's back problem will be re-examined Wednesday. ... Tejada extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... Millar tied his career high with four hits.