- The Washington Times - Friday, September 10, 2004

BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Orioles would prefer to be vying for a playoff spot this month, but they’ll have to settle for being spoilers.

Brian Roberts and Larry Bigbie had two hits apiece in an eight-run third inning as Baltimore ended the New York Yankees’ five-game winning streak with a 14-8 victory last night before a sellout crowd of 48,026 at Camden Yards.

Miguel Tejada and Melvin Mora homered, and B.J. Surhoff had a season-high four RBI for the streaky Orioles, who have won eight of 11 - a streak that includes a 3-1 record against the Yankees.

Baltimore has two games left against American League East leader New York and eight against runner-up Boston.

“I don’t like the position we’re in, but that’s where we are,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said.

Baltimore trailed 3-2 before sending 13 batters to the plate in the third against Javier Vazquez (13-9) and two relievers. Bigbie had two singles and scored twice, and Roberts had a bunt single and a two-run double. The double was Roberts’ 46th, tying the AL season record for a switch hitter.

Even with a 10-3 lead, Mazzilli wasn’t certain Baltimore had enough runs to win.

“When you put the nail in the coffin against that team, you’ve got to hammer it shut,” he said. “They can come back. Believe me, I’ve seen it. I’ve been there [as a former Yankees coach]. I know.”

Rodrigo Lopez (12-8) beat New York for the second time in eight days despite allowing five runs and eight hits in 5[2/3] innings.

Derek Jeter and Ruben Sierra homered for the Yankees, who began the night 3-1/2 games ahead of Boston. The Red Sox played a late game at Seattle.

New York received another poor outing from Vazquez, who yielded eight runs, five hits and two walks in 2-1/3 innings. He is 0-3 with a 9.99 ERA in his last five starts.

Vazquez came unglued in the third after three singles loaded the bases with one out. He forced in the tying run with a walk to Tejada, then hit Rafael Palmeiro with a pitch and walked Javy Lopez on a 3-2 pitch, putting Baltimore ahead 5-3.

C.J. Nitkowski then gave up a two-run single to Surhoff before striking out Jay Gibbons. Bigbie followed with a single and Roberts doubled in two runs to make it 10-3. The eight-run inning tied the Orioles’ biggest of the year.

Sierra led off the fourth with his 24th homer, and Miguel Cairo tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kenny Lofton.

Javy Lopez singled in a run and Surhoff hit a two-run triple in the sixth to make it 13-5. John Olerud singled in two runs during New York’s three-run seventh, and Mora homered off Steve Karsay in the eighth.

“We were trying to climb out of a foxhole all night,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “It was just too high of a mountain.”

— Orioles pitcher Jorge Julio received a four-game suspension from Major League Baseball for throwing a pitch that nearly hit Minnesota’s Augie Ojeda in the head. Julio, who has 21 saves this season, also was fined $1,000. Julio has appealed the suspension and fine, saying he did not throw at Ojeda in Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Twins.

“I never try to hit this guy in the face, in the head, whatever,” the Orioles closer said. “I’m appealing because the [accusation] is not true.”

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