LEICESTER LOSES IT
Jon Leicester had controlled the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels in back-to-back starts, and for three innings it looked as if he might do the same to the New York Yankees. But five of the first six batters he faced in the fourth inning reached base. Doug Mientkiewicz landed the big blow, slamming Leicester's 0-1 pitch into the right-field seats for a three-run home run. Hideki Matsui had a two-run double and Robinson Cano had an RBI single in the six-run inning that marked the end of Leicester's evening.
DEFENSE DOESN'T HELP
With a little help, Leicester could have gotten out of the fourth with very little damage if only his defense had made a couple of plays. None was routine, but three different times in the inning, balls either went under or off Orioles' gloves. Derek Jeter hit a leadoff single under the glove of a diving Melvin Mora at third base. Bobby Abreu followed with a line-drive double that hit off the glove of a lunging Mora. And Matsui's two-run double got under the mitt of Aubrey Huff at first base. All three were correctly ruled hits.
MUSSINA HITS HIS MARKS
It appears that short stint in the Yankees' bullpen has done wonders for Mike Mussina. He is 2-0 and has pitched 12 2/3 shutout innings since returning to the New York rotation. Last night, he held the Orioles to three hits and a walk while striking out six in seven scoreless innings. The Orioles didn't have a hit until the third inning. No Oriole reached second base until the seventh, Mussina's final inning. When he struck out Huff for the final out of the seventh, Mussina pumped his fist.
In the series finale, Orioles left-hander Brian Burres (6-5, 5.47) will oppose Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte (13-8, 3.89). Burres, who pitched seven shutout innings to beat the Toronto Blue Jays in his most recent start, is 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA against New York in five outings. That includes just one start, as Burres allowed only one run in six innings to beat the Yankees at Camden Yards on July 28. Pettitte is 20-6 with a 3.73 ERA in 32 games against the Orioles, but he was beaten by them in his only matchup this season.