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Yankees Run Circles Around Ponson, O's

Orioles Notes: A day after he struggled in the fifth inning for the second time in as many starts, Orioles pitcher Rodrigo Lopez dismissed the notion he is best suited for the bullpen, and Mazzilli said he is not going there. Lopez allowed just one run in 27 1/3 innings in 12 relief appearances before joining the starting rotation.

In each of his two starts, Lopez has been solid through four innings but has collapsed in the fifth, when he allowed six runs in his first start and four in the next.

Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, left, receives a pat on the stomach from Derek Jeter following his two-run homer. (Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)

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Where: Comerica Park, Detroit.

When: Tonight, 7:05, Saturday, 7:05, Sunday, 1:05.

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Pitchers: Tonight, Orioles LHP Eric DuBose (3-3, 4.67) vs. Detroit RHP Jason Johnson (3-5, 5.57). Saturday, Orioles RHP Daniel Cabrera (2-1, 4.32) vs. Detroit RHP Jeremy Bonderman (4-3, 4.66). Sunday, Orioles LHP Erik Bedard (1-2, 4.91) vs. Detroit LHP Mike Maroth (4-3, 4.91).

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"I think my performance has been pretty good [except for] two bad innings, both in the fifth," Lopez said, "but I can't give any excuses for that. Honestly, I've been feeling good in both games, even in the fifth." . . .

Mazzilli ruled out a trip to the disabled list for right fielder Jay Gibbons, who has not played since back spasms forced him from the ninth inning of Tuesday's game.

"There's no DL possibility," Mazzilli said. "I don't see that, the doctors don't see that."

Gibbons said the problem has lingered since the Orioles' series in Toronto April 23-25, and has awoken him several instances during the night.

"If it doesn't spasm up, I think I could play tomorrow," said Gibbons, who had an MRI exam on Thursday afternoon and expected the results later in the night. "It's not painful, it's just uncomfortable. . . . The other night was the worst I've had all year." . . .

After the game, the Orioles recalled pitcher Eddy Rodriguez from Class AAA Ottawa. Catcher Keith Osik cleared waivers, refused his assignment to Ottawa and was granted his release.

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