Baltimore beats the Yankees again

July 29, 2008 9:10:12 PM PDT
Daniel Cabrera loves pitching at Yankee Stadium, and he's having a good time no matter where he sees the Bronx Bombers these days. Cabrera pitched into the eighth inning before being ejected, Aubrey Huff had four RBIs and the Baltimore Orioles held off the New York Yankees 7-6 Tuesday night for their third straight win.

"It's always good to pitch here," said Cabrera, who came within two outs of a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium in 2006. "This is one of the best ballparks ever."

Kevin Millar hit another homer against New York and Nick Markakis continued to torment Darrell Rasner, who dropped to 2-8 in his last 11 starts. The Orioles clinched their first series win since they took two of three against the Chicago Cubs from June 24-26 at Wrigley Field.

Last-place Baltimore improved to 7-4 against New York this season after the teams split 18 meetings last year.

"I guess we play a little bit better with playoff-contending teams," Huff said. "It seems like we step it up a little bit more and get a little bit more focused."

The Yankees scored three runs in the ninth to pull within one but George Sherrill struck out Robinson Cano and Wilson Betemit with a runner on second to end the game.

Alex Rodriguez hit his 22nd homer for New York, which has lost three straight after winning its first eight games following the All-Star break. The Yankees fell four games back of AL East-leading Tampa Bay, which beat Toronto 3-0.

"It's frustrating," Rodriguez said. "That's a game that we need right there and we have to have."

Rodriguez led off the sixth with his 46th career homer against Baltimore - the most for any active player versus the O's - and Cabrera hit the slugger on his left shoulder with his first pitch when he came up again in the eighth.

Plate umpire Chad Fairchild promptly tossed Cabrera, and manager Dave Trembley bolted out of the dugout for a discussion with Fairchild as Jim Johnson made his way to the mound from the Baltimore bullpen.

"I was surprised because the game was 6-1, nobody out, runner is at second," Cabrera said. "How am I going to put somebody on base? So (it) surprised me."

Fairchild said he thought the pitch was intentional because it was the next delivery to Rodriguez after his home run, and it was high and inside. But Trembley and Rodriguez disagreed with the umpire.

"I don't know. You never know," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Daniel Cabrera is wild, but I don't like it. He was down in the zone all night tonight and you just don't like it. It's happened a few times with this guy, Daniel Cabrera. We know at times he has some control issues but it's just awful dangerous when you're up there."

New York loaded the bases on Jason Giambi's base hit, and Johnson allowed a two-run single to Cano to cut it to 6-3. But Johnson struck out Betemit, retired Melky Cabrera on a liner to center and threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Xavier Nady to limit the damage.

Daniel Cabrera (7-6) was charged with three runs and eight hits, improving to 3-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against New York this year. He is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA in eight games at Yankee Stadium, including 4-1 with a 2.86 ERA in his last five starts.

"Obviously, he has a comfort zone against us and he's pitched well here," Rodriguez said, "and we have to figure it out because we're going to be facing this kid for a long time."

Rasner (5-8) departed after allowing the first two batters to reach in the seventh. Damaso Marte came in and allowed a single to Markakis to load the bases before Huff hit an 0-2 pitch into left-center to make it 5-1. Melvin Mora followed with a double off the first base bag.

Huff hit his second homer in two days and 22nd of the season in the ninth to make it 7-3. He tied a career high with four hits and is 17-for-34 in an eight-game hitting streak. He is batting .389 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs in his last 42 games.

"I really don't want to talk about it," Huff said, trying not to jinx his recent run. "That's pretty much it."

Rasner allowed four runs and eight hits after entering with a 1-1 record and 0.69 ERA in two previous starts against the Orioles this season.

Markakis went 1-for-2 with a walk against Rasner, and his average against the right-hander dropped to .769. He is 10-for-13 with two doubles and a home run against the Yankees pitcher.

Millar put the Orioles ahead 2-0 with a leadoff drive in the fourth, his 16th of the season and fourth in his last five games. He is batting .362 (17-for-47) with six homers and nine RBIs against New York this year.

Millar, who won a World Series title with Boston in 2004, has a .302 career average against the Yankees with 21 homers and 55 RBIs in 378 at-bats.

Notes: Johnny Damon was back in the Yankees' outfield, starting in left even though he still feels some pain in his left shoulder when he throws. ... Markakis finished with two hits and scored two runs.