Roberts Injures Elbow, O's Lose

Brian Roberts
The Orioles' Brian Roberts lays on the ground grimacing in pain after dislocating his elbow during a throw to first. (Ray Stubblebine - Reuters)
By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 21, 2005

NEW YORK, Sept. 20 -- In a season gone bad in so many ways, there may not have been a more grim sight than that of Brian Roberts, on his knees near first base, grimacing and wincing in pain as team trainers examined his injured left arm. The slight second baseman then rolled on his back, trying to hold back tears.

His elbow had been bent back gruesomely when the Yankees' Bubba Crosby ran into him while he was trying to field a throw from first baseman B.J. Surhoff on a bunt in the second inning of the Baltimore Orioles' 12-9 loss Tuesday night. Roberts grabbed his left arm and fell. Once on his feet, he almost collapsed in pain. He finally got composed and walked slowly, with team trainers holding the injured arm, into the Orioles dugout and to the clubhouse.

In the third inning the Orioles announced that Roberts had suffered a dislocated elbow and was taken to a local hospital to assess what other damage he might have suffered. It seems doubtful that Roberts could return for the final 12 games of the season. The fear is that he might not be ready for next season.

Otherwise it was just another win by the surging Yankees, who have beaten Baltimore four consecutive times now, and have won eight of nine games to remain a half-game out of first place in the American League East. During Baltimore's first-place run, the Orioles won five of the first six games against New York. Now they have lost five of six. Six games against the Yankees remain for Baltimore.

The game began ugly for the Orioles, with New York scoring four runs, three on Jorge Posada's home run off John Maine, in the first inning and turned downright horrific during that second inning. Shortly after Roberts had been taken off the field, Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo was ejected while inside the dugout. It appeared that Perlozzo believed Crosby was inside the baseline when he collided with Roberts.

Perlozzo stormed out of the dugout to argue with home plate umpire Sam Holbrook. Perlozzo showed an anger many thought did not exist within the affable manager. He angrily gestured and jawed at Holbrook for several moments before going back into the dugout and eventually to the clubhouse.

The inning continued. Maine was taken out in the second by acting manager Tom Trebelhorn after the pitcher bobbled a ground ball hit by Derek Jeter that would have likely led to a double play. Instead, the Yankees continued their rally that culminated in Gary Sheffield's grand slam that made the score 9-3.

Maine, who allowed six earned runs in just one inning, immediately sat down and slumped in the dugout. Teammates quickly consoled him. It certainly is not unusual for a rookie pitcher to struggle at Yankee Stadium.

It appeared the Orioles would stumble through this game, becoming an easy target for the Yankees. By the end of the fifth inning, the Yankees had tacked on an extra run on Bernie Williams's single, scoring Robinson Cano, to make the score 10-3.

But an inspired Orioles team rallied, scoring a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Luis Matos, then two more in the seventh on Jay Gibbons's 23rd home run of the season. At that point, the Yankees took the game seriously, bringing in setup man Tom Gordon in the eighth.

But Baltimore scored a run against Gordon on a double by Bernie Castro. With just three runs separating the teams, and the almost unbeatable Mariano Rivera in the bullpen, the Orioles put the game in the unsteady hands of Jorge Julio.

The reliever allowed a monstrous home run to Alex Rodriguez that landed in the upper deck in right field, a rare feat for a right-handed hitter at Yankee Stadium. Another run scored on a single by Sheffield. Suddenly the game wasn't so close anymore and the Yankees sat down Rivera. It was B.J. Surhoff's RBI single in the ninth against Alan Embree that brought Rivera into the game. The game ended on Chris Gomez's fly ball to right.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company