Jeter Hurt as Yanks Fall to O’s
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BALTIMORE – The Lopez & Lopez tandem staged another successful performance, this time at the expense of the Yankees.
Javy Lopez hit two of Baltimore’s four home runs, Rodrigo Lopez won his third straight start, and the Orioles won 11-4 yesterday to avert a three-game sweep.
Rodrigo Lopez had gone winless in nine straight starts before Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo put Javy Lopez, the back up to Ramon Hernandez, behind the plate to catch the right-hander on May 25 in Seattle. Lopez & Lopez have been a team for three starts now, and Rodrigo Lopez is 3-0 during that time. He blanked the Yankees through six innings before being chased in the seventh, but by that time the Orioles had built a huge lead.
Yesterday, Javy Lopez did more than just call the right pitches. He led off the second inning with a homer and hit a three-run drive in the fifth to make it 10-0. It was his 22nd career multi-homer game, the first since 2004.
Kevin Millar and rookie Brandon Fahey homered in a five-run third against Aaron Small (0-3).
The short-handed Yankees were without Jason Giambi, who missed a second straight game with a stomach virus.
Alex Rodriguez returned after missing two games with the same ailment, going 0-for-4 with a walk, but the Yankees lost Derek Jeter after Rodrigo Lopez hit him in the right hand with a pitch in the sixth inning. The injury was diagnosed as a bruised thumb; x-rays were negative.
“Thank goodness the results of the x- rays were fine,” Joe Torre said. “Hopefully he’ll be all right tomorrow.”
The loss dropped the Yankees a half game behind first-place Boston in the AL East. The teams begin a four-game series in New York today.
The Yankees took two of three from the Orioles without some of their top hitters, but Torre doesn’t want to face the Red Sox without Jeter and Giambi.
“I want to be optimistic. I know if they’re not back it’s only because it’s impossible,” Torre said. “If there is any chance at all they’ll be back for that series. Everybody seems to forget what’s wrong with them.”
The Yankees entered yesterday’s game with two impressive streaks, one of which ended. The Yankees extended their run of games with at least 10 hits to 11, but failed to take a lead for the first time in 16 games.
That’s because Rodrigo Lopez was sharp from the outset and Small yielded three homers and seven runs in 2 2/3 innings. Small, who went 10-0 for New York last year, has a 9.67 ERA. Small has yielded nine homers in 22 1/3 innings. Last year, he gave up four in 76 innings.
“Bad location,” Torre said. “When he gets hurt it’s location, because he certainly doesn’t have enough velocity to go and challenge people. He pretty much has to locate his pitches. That was the case right from the get-to today.”
The Yankees avoided their first shutout of the season when Miguel Cairo singled in a run in the seventh before rookie Kevin Thompson, playing in place of Jeter, hit a three-run double.