- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 24, 2004

BALTIMORE — The New York Yankees usually do not need any help from the Baltimore Orioles to win. Most of the time, they can handle that responsibility themselves.

But in case they did have any problems, the Orioles did their share to contribute to a 5-2 Yankees victory by committing three errors last night at Camden Yards.

The miscues, combined with two-run homers by Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, put Baltimore back on a losing track after the win over New York Wednesday night.

The Orioles now are 29-39 — their worst record after 68 games since 1991 — have lost 23 of their last 32 games and are 1-8 against the Yankees this season.

Manager Lee Mazzilli was upset by the gifts his last-place team gave to the first-place Yankees, noting, “I’ve said this a thousand times — when you make errors and give good teams that extra chance, stuff like that is going to happen.”

This quiet defeat before a sellout crowd of 48,442 — many of them Yankees fans — reiterated that all aspects of this 2004 squad are not working.

Their pitching has been their downfall as the Orioles staff brought the worst ERA in the league (5.45) into the game.

But on a night when Baltimore got a solid pitching performance from Sidney Ponson — two earned runs in seven innings — the vaunted offense, with the $100million trio of Miguel Tejada, Rafael Palmeiro and Javy Lopez — scored only two runs off New York starter Javier Vazquez.

And now the Orioles can add their defense to the list of sins. The three errors gave them 52 for the season, the American League’s fifth-highest total.

To add some more red ink to the ledger of the team’s high-priced free agents, the loss gave Ponson a record of 3-10. That after he was hailed as the staff ace with his 17-12 record last year and the three-year, $22.5million contract he signed with the Orioles in the offseason.

Ponson spoke only to Comcast, the rights holders for Orioles baseball, after the game and ignored the rest of the media for the fourth time this season although he was urged by club officials to talk to reporters.

After Brian Roberts walked to open the Baltimore first, newcomer David Newhan, who arrived last Friday as a free agent following his release by the Texas Rangers organization, continued his hot hitting by slamming Vazquez’s first pitch over the right-field scoreboard onto Eutaw Street to give Baltimore a 2-0 lead.

Newhan, the son of a California baseball writer, had gone 4-for-5 with three RBI in Wednesday night’s 13-4 Orioles win and came into last night’s game batting .563. Newhan was in the lineup in place of third baseman Melvin Mora, who missed a sixth game with a sprained foot ligament.

New York tied the game in the third when Newhan committed a throwing error on Jeter’s ground ball. Rodriguez drove Sidney Ponson’s second pitch over the right-field wall for his 19th home run of the season.

Jeter made it a 4-2 game when he sent Ponson’s 0-2 pitch 410 feet over the center-field wall for a two-run homer, his 11th of the season.

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