Grand night for O's, Huff

The Baltimore Sun

NEW YORK -- If nothing else, Orioles manager Dave Trembley assures that his team will not lie down over the final two months of the season. There will be no countdown to the season's final day, no packing boxes in the clubhouse until the Orioles have no more games left to play.

To Trembley, each game is another opportunity to gain some respect and send a message that the Orioles no longer will be pushovers in the American League East.

The Orioles lost a one-run game to the New York Yankees on Monday night that they felt they should have won. Their response last night was a 12-0 pounding of the home team in front of an announced 52,567, with Aubrey Huff's third-inning grand slam highlighting the Orioles' most lopsided victory of the season.

"I thought [Monday's] game made us more determined tonight to come out here and get the job done to be honest with you," Trembley said. "I know the mood of the team after the game last night was they were real determined to come out here today and win the ballgame.

"I think we know the personality of the club. The personality of the club is we'll compete. It just seems like the more we're pushed up against the wall, the more we'll respond to that."

Huff's grand slam into the right-field upper deck off Yankees starter Jeff Karstens was just the start of an offensive outburst for the Orioles, who scored in every inning from the second through the seventh and posted their highest run total of the season.

The Orioles (55-63) are 7-4 against the Yankees this season and will have a chance to take their fourth series win over them in the finale this afternoon behind ace Erik Bedard.

Pitching for the first time at Yankee Stadium since he came within two outs of no-hitting New York last September, Daniel Cabrera (9-12) didn't allow a hit until there was one out in the fourth inning last night. He settled for 6 2/3 shutout innings of two-hit ball, walking six and striking out five.

Asked if last night reminded him of his no-hit bid last season, Cabrera offered a big smile and said, "A little bit."

"I think my fastball was working very well tonight," he said. "It's fun when you have a lead like that. You can have confidence in everything."

The Orioles had a 5-0 lead by the third inning and an 11-0 advantage by the sixth.

Even with an offense that has scored 243 runs in 33 games since the All-Star break and leads the major leagues in essentially every category during that span, Yankees manager Joe Torre essentially waved the white flag in the seventh, pulling regulars Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.

The Orioles also chose to overlook watching two of their best players - Miguel Tejada and Nick Markakis - get drilled by pitches while the game was no longer in doubt. Tejada was hit in the left shoulder by Yankees reliever Jim Brower with the Orioles holding an 8-0 lead in the sixth, and Markakis was nailed by Ron Villone with the Orioles up by 11 in the seventh. Villone's pitch nearly went behind Markakis, hitting him in the back.

"After Tejada got hit, I motioned down to [Cabrera] in the dugout. I didn't want him to do anything," Trembley said. "I didn't think that was the place and time for that, and he nodded his head back to me. It was a long enough inning as it is and we didn't want to wake them up."

Karstens (0-3), starting in place of Roger Clemens, who is serving a suspension, gave up five runs in just three innings. Brower, a former Oriole, followed and allowed six runs (four earned) in two innings.

Huff was 2-for-3 with five RBIs, a season high and one off his career high. His grand slam was his ninth home run of the season and his third in his past 10 games after he went 26 games without hitting one. The surge has come after Huff switched to a more upright batting stance.

"That's probably one of the better balls I've hit this year," Huff said. "The thing is, I've hit balls like that but I've hooked them. That ball stayed pretty straight, and that's a good sign when you're hitting balls right down the line and they stay straight."

First baseman Kevin Millar was 3-for-3 with a home run, his 12th, and four runs. He also reached base in all five of his plate appearances and has reached base in 43 straight games, six shy of the club record. That, of course, was an afterthought to Millar, who predicted to a group of reporters before the game that he would homer later that night.

"I didn't know what at-bat it was going to happen, but I told you boys I felt a little good today. I thought I'd maybe get one out of the yard," Millar said. "It was a great win. Cabrera threw a great game and obviously we went out and swung the bats well."

Millar then returned to his role as the clubhouse comedian, flexing for a television camera and teasing reliever Jamie Walker for his fashion sense. It was a far different scene from Monday night, when the Orioles lost, 7-6, on Derek Jeter's RBI fielder's choice in the ninth inning.

Trembley was uncharacteristically short after the game and grew annoyed when he was asked about how relentless the Yankees were.

"I dare say, I think the Orioles were relentless tonight," Trembley said.

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