Mike Mussina’s was the coin that flopped over tonight. After walking just three men in his last five starts, Mussina walked Brian Roberts to start tonight’s game. Moose then gave up two-out singles to Aubrey Huff and Kevin Millar to plate Roberts and put men on first and second. After that, he got of Luke Scott 1-2 and got Scott to ground to shortstop for what appeared to be an inning-ending groundout. Derek Jeter fielded the ball and looked to flip to Robinson Cano at second for the out, but Cano wasn’t on the bag. Instead, Jeter threw to first, but his throw was high and allowed Scott to reach safely, loading the bases for Ramon Hernandez. Mussina walked Hernandez on four pitches to force in a second Oriole run, then failed to retire any of the four men after him, finally being pulled with the score 7-0 Orioles and still just two outs in the first inning.
That thew a wet blanket on Alex Rodriguez’s return to the lineup. Rodriguez came through with a two-run homer into the Yankee bullpen in the sixth, but those were the only runs Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera allowed on the night as the Orioles cruised to a 12-2 win.
The only other action of note stemmed from a third-inning Cabrera pitch which tailed in on Derek Jeter and hit him on the outside of his left wrist. Jeter left the game immediately, and LaTroy Hawkins cleared the benches by throwing at Luke Scott with none on and two out in the sixth, but Jeter’s x-rays were negative, which means that other than a coming suspension for Hawkins, the lasting effects should be minimal. The lasting effects of the Yankees losing six of their last seven while averaging two runs per game remain the greater concern.