But on two consecutive nights here, the Orioles appeared to have discovered something. Get a gritty outing from a rookie starter, get several big outs from the resurgent bullpen, get enough lutch hits froman offense that is finding ways to beat teams on a nightly basis, and suddenly the Yankees don?t look so invincible.
In his first start in 12 days, Brian Burres allowed just one run in six innings, while Miguel Tejada drove in four runs to propel the Orioles to a 7-5 victory last night before an announced 48,402, the largest crowd at Camden Yards this season.
The Orioles survived a frantic ninth inning in which the Yankees score four runs and brough the tying run to the plate twice. But after Cory Doyne couldn?t get an out in the ninth, giving up four earned runs on five hits, Jamie Walker got a clutch double-play ball from Johnny Damon and then struck out Bobby Abreu, who represented the tying run, on a 3-2 pitch.
That left Alex Rodriguez, who was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, in the on-deck circle, having towait at least one more day for another shot at his 500th home run.
The victory not only propelledthe Orioles to their sixth straightvictory ? Friday night?s loss in the conclusion of the rain-suspendedgame counts toward theirJune mark ? but improves their record to 6-2 against the Yankeesthis season. The Orioles have wonthe season series against New York only once in the last 17 years,in 1997.
The Orioles (49-54), who defeatedRoger Clemens for the secondtime this season, have won eight straight at Camden Yards,their longest streak since theyalso won eight in a row from July 17 to Aug. 2, 2003.
Every time it appeared Burres(5-4) might crack under pressure,he came up with a huge pitch orbenefited from a big defensiveplay. Hideki Matsui?s leadoffhomer in the seventh was theonly run against him. He allowedfour hits and threewalks.
He also struck out seven in sixinnings of work. It was quite aperformance for a pitcher whohadn?t seen game action since July 16 and who was so nervouslast year when he faced the Yankees in his major league debut that he got a nosebleed.
Burres hadn?t pitched since allowing four runs in six innings against the Seattle Mariners on July 16. He has been shuttled between the bullpen and the starting rotation all season, so pitching on an irregular schedule isn?t a foreign concept for him.
However, he hadn?t had 11 days between appearances, which wasthe challenge he faced last night, along with the Yankees? vauntedlineup.
Burres had never startedagainst the Yankees, though he made three relief appearancesagainst them last season, allowing two earned runs in 3? innings. The 26-year-old left-hander made his major league debut against the Yankees last season and surrendered a two-run home run and three hits in two-thirds of an inning.
But if he had any nerves last night, they weren?t evident. Burres walked leadoff hitter Damon after getting ahead 0-2, but he struck out Derek Jeter swinging, Abreu looking and Rodriguez, who flailed at a curveball. The Orioles then jumped on Clemens (3-5) in the bottom of the first to give Burres a 2-0 lead. Brian Roberts led off with a double to right field, and he moved to third when Kevin Millar flied out to center for the second out. Tejada then hit a double over third base that scored Roberts and Nick Markakis, who had drawn a oneoutwalk.
It was Tejada?s first hit in six atbats since coming off the disabled list from a fractured left wrist.
The Orioles threatened again in the second, putting men on first and second with one out on consecutive singles from Jay Payton and Chris Gomez. Clemens got out of the jam with no further damage, but his pitch count stood at 50 after two innings.
Clemens steadied himself for the next two innings, but the Orioles got another run in the fifth as Roberts turned a leadoff walk into a 3-0 lead. Corey Patterson moved Roberts to second with a sacrifice bunt. Roberts then stole third, his 31st steal of the season, and scored when Markakis lined a single into left field off Clemens, whom the Orioles outfielder idolized as a boy.