- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2000


BALTIMORE The bombs were not blasting out of Camden Yards as they had been a night earlier last night, but it hardly mattered as the New York Yankees completed their three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yankees got timely hitting and a solid outing from starting pitcher Dwight Gooden to register a methodical 4-1 win before a technically sellout crowd of 47,691 with thousands of no-shows.

The Orioles wasted an effective outing by Sidney Ponson as they failed to capitalize on a less-than-sharp Gooden.

The result, which came on the heels of New York's 19-1 blowout Tuesday, has come to be expected of two teams heading in opposite directions. The Yankees (54-42) have won four straight and 16 of 22 as they gain momentum in their quest for a third consecutive pennant and World Series title. Baltimore (43-57) fell to a season-low 14 games under .500 as it dropped its fourth straight.

New acquisition David Justice had two RBI for New York, which had no home runs, perhaps because of the heavy air on a misty night, after hitting five Tuesday. Gooden (5-3) allowed one run and six hits over 5 2/3 innings to gain the win. Mariano Rivera picked up his 24th save with a tidy ninth inning.

"A big hit here or there, and we could have had a different outcome," said Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove, whose team scored five runs over the series. "This series with the Yankees is the exact opposite of the way we scored in Toronto [when Baltimore won two of three]. We got a lot of key runs in key situations in that series, and we didn't here."

The Orioles went 4-for-34 (.118 average) with runners in scoring position in the series and left 28 runners on base.

Ponson (5-7), who had struggled over his past three starts, kept the Orioles in the game before becoming the latest Baltimore starter to get little help from the offense. The Aruban allowed four runs and eight hits over seven innings plus.

"The only problem I had is that I threw a couple right down the middle of the zone," Ponson said.

The Yankees took the lead in the first inning on an RBI double by Justice. Paul O'Neill, who had four hits and six RBI on Tuesday, delivered an opposite-field single with two outs to set up the score. Bernie Williams walked to put O'Neill in scoring position before Justice delivered the run with a single to left.

The Orioles evened the game in the bottom of the inning when Delino DeShields led off with a single, stole second and scored when Will Clark punched a single to right with one out.

However, the inning ended with the kind of spectacular play that has become routine for Yankees star Derek Jeter. The shortstop went deep in the hole to backhand a grounder from Albert Belle and threw to second while in the air to get the force. The ballet move saved enough time for second baseman Jose Vizcaino to turn the double play on the slow-footed Belle.

New York took the lead for good in the third as Ponson labored. Ryan Thompson's one-out single up the middle started the rally. After Scott Brosius flied out to right, Vizcaino's double to right center sent Thompson to third. Jeter walked before O'Neill's single through the infield scored Brosius and Thompson to increase the lead to 3-1.

Baltimore failed to take advantage of a struggling Gooden as it left the bases loaded. New York brought in Jeff Nelson, and the lanky right-hander got Charles Johnson to hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice.

The Yankees added an insurance run in the eighth when Williams led off with a triple off the center field wall. Luis Matos tried to make a leaping grab but misplayed the ball. The ball appeared to bounce off a pipe behind center field and back into the field but was ruled in play.

The rookie outfielder bounced off the wall to the ground and lay motionless for a moment before sitting up. After being looked at by the Baltimore trainers, he stayed in the game. Justice promptly hammered a single off the right-field scoreboard to bring in Williams. That made it 4-1 and ended Ponson's night.

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