- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 20, 2008

NEW YORK | Brett Gardner put in his bid for the last great catch at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees‘ center fielder robbed Luke Scott with a terrific grab and doubled in a run Friday night, sparking New York to a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of the final series at the 85-year-old ballpark.

Robinson Cano hit a solo homer for New York, which has won six of seven after losing the opener of its last homestand. Carl Pavano (4-1) settled down after a shaky start and went five innings to win his second straight start.

Even with their late surge, the Yankees are almost certain to miss the postseason for the first time since 1995. They were 7 1/2 games behind Boston for the wild card and nine back of AL East-leading Tampa Bay entering play Friday.

Radhames Liz (6-6) pitched 6 1/3 solid innings for Baltimore, already assured of finishing last in the AL East for the first time since 1988. The Orioles dropped to 2-18 in their last 20 one-run games and have lost 23 of 30 overall.

The Yankees went in front 3-2 in the fifth, getting a big assist from Liz. Johnny Damon hit a one-out single, stole second and advanced to third on Derek Jeter’s base hit. Bobby Abreu fouled out, but Damon scored the go-ahead run on Liz’s wild pitch to Alex Rodriguez.

Five New York relievers combined for four innings of two-hit ball after Pavano left. Phil Coke, Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte each got two outs, Joba Chamberlain struck out the side in the eighth, and Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 37th save in 38 opportunities.

Jeter made a nice play on Adam Jones’ grounder to shortstop leading off the ninth, throwing out the center fielder from the outfield grass. Baltimore put runners on first and third with two out, but Brian Roberts popped up to end the game.

Gardner sparked the Yankees in the field and at the plate. He threw out Nick Markakis trying to score from second on Aubrey Huff’s RBI single in the first and doubled in Ivan Rodriguez in the third to tie it at 2-2.

Scott led off the fourth with a drive that sent Gardner scrambling back to the warning track, just to the left of the 408-foot sign in center. Gardner made a leaping attempt against the wall before crumpling to the ground.

Scott rounded the bases while Gardner was sitting in the outfield with his glove down - leaving the crowd to wonder whether he made the catch. About four seconds later, he pulled the ball out of his glove and threw it toward the infield as Scott swung his arm in disgust.

Pavano just smiled and pointed to Gardner as the sellout crowd of 54,136 roared on a cool night in the Bronx.

Notes - Orioles right-hander Daniel Cabrera was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Sunday, with a sprained elbow. He is done for the season. …

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said lefty Brian Burres will start Saturday. …

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter gave his spikes that he wore Tuesday night when he broke Lou Gehrig’s record for most career hits at Yankee Stadium to the Hall of Fame.

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