O's Leave No Doubt In Rout of Yankees
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
NEW YORK, May 20 -- All the way from left field in cavernous Yankee Stadium, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Luke Scott heard the thud in the third inning, when pitcher Daniel Cabrera's fastball hit the left hand of New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. And as the Yankees' captain clutched his bruised hand, Scott said he lowered his head and prayed.
"For the Lord to heal his hands quickly," said Scott, who can regularly be seen reading from the Bible in his locker. "I know that's a tough thing."
Said Cabrera: "I tried to throw the fastball a little bit in and the ball moved too much. So that's why I maybe hit him. But they know I didn't do it on purpose."
But in the sixth inning, Yankees reliever LaTroy Hawkins barely missed Scott's head with a pitch, triggering an exchange of words that led to both benches emptying, which provided the only real drama in Baltimore's 12-2 victory before 51,617 at Yankee Stadium.
"It looked like it was purposeful," said Scott, who gestured and shouted at the former Oriole Hawkins, who was in the game after Baltimore chased Yankees starter Mike Mussina with a seven-run first inning.
Scott said he could sense a potential problem even earlier in the inning when, with the Orioles ahead 10-0, Hawkins nearly hit Aubrey Huff with a pitch.
"I knew he was throwing at me," Huff said, "But after you miss me and you miss Luke the first time, you only get so many chances to hit someone. I understand that Jeter was hit and he came out of the game. But that wasn't intentional. Danny pitches inside and he [Jeter] dives a little bit. That's all part of baseball."
After watching Huff's at-bat, Scott said he was surprised at Hawkins's first pitch, which buzzed Scott's midsection. But it was the second offering, a fastball that sent Scott stumbling backward out of the batter's box, that drew the outfielder's ire.
"You never throw at someone's head with intention," he said. "You can end someone's life. You can end a career. No one likes going through difficult moments like that, ugly moments in the game. But you've got to stick up for yourself."
Home plate umpire Chuck Meriwether ejected Hawkins and cooler heads prevailed as players from both sides spilled onto the field. And the game concluded peacefully, with neither team escalating hostilities.
"There is no reason for us to retaliate in any way, shape, or form," Orioles Manager Dave Trembley said. "That's not how we play baseball. It's totally inappropriate."
Almost obscured in the near brawl was Baltimore's highest scoring output of the season. The Orioles chased Mussina after 2/3 of an inning, the veteran pitcher's shortest outing since lasting 2/3 of an inning on July 13, 1995, while a member of the Orioles.
The key play came in the first inning when Jeter (whose status is day to day) threw high trying to retire Scott on a two-out grounder to short. That opened the door for Baltimore, which scored six unearned runs in the inning. .
The big hit came when Adam Jones cleared the bases with a three-run double -- the first of four hits. He finished with four RBI.
Meanwhile, Cabrera was outstanding once more, issuing no walks for the third time this season. The only blip was in sixth inning, when Alex Rodriguez celebrated his return from the disabled list (strained right quadriceps) with a two-run homer.
But the Orioles, particularly Scott, managed to get the last word.
The Orioles won their fifth in their past six, and their eighth in their past 10, while the Yankees limped to their fourth straight loss. But not before Scott hammered a tape-measure homer in the eighth inning, a towering shot to right field that floated into Yankee Stadium's third deck after Hawkins was already tossed.
"The Lord says to forgive those who wrong you," Scott said. "And I forgive him."