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Duncan's late homer can't save Yanks

Game-tying blast forgotten as O's mount rally off Rivera in 10th
08/15/2007 5:13 PM ET
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com

Shelley Duncan's power has given the Yankees a boost.(AP)
NEW YORK -- The Yankees can grow accustomed to Shelley Duncan coming through in key spots. They're not used to Mariano Rivera floundering in them.

Duncan crushed a game-tying three-run homer off Jamie Walker with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Rivera gave up three runs in the 10th as the Yankees fell to the Orioles on Wednesday, 6-3.

Miguel Tejada came through with a run-scoring double to drive home Nick Markakis and give Baltimore the lead against Rivera, who blew a save in the series opener on Monday, snapping a string of 19 consecutive opportunities converted. Wednesday's appearance came in a non-save situation, but Aubrey Huff put the game further away with a two-run homer into the right-center-field seats.

Rivera's troubles made Duncan's heroics a side note to the series, which ended as Baltimore took two of three from New York. Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui opened the ninth inning with sharp singles up the middle facing Danys Baez, who struck out Jorge Posada on a high fastball before yielding to the left-hander Walker. Bobby Abreu grounded out as a pinch-hitter before Duncan sent a high, arcing shot into the left-field seats for his sixth career homer.

The rally erased a possible victory for Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard, who had shut out the suddenly sputtering Yankees over seven innings for the second time this season. New York managed just four hits off Bedard in an eight-strikeout performance but waited until the late innings to do its greatest damage.

Making his fifth Major League start, Phil Hughes used up most of his pitch allotment to get through five innings, leaving the game trailing by three runs. The 21-year-old right-hander allowed six hits and two earned runs in a 94-pitch effort, walking two and striking out four while throwing a wild pitch.

The Orioles opened the scoring against Hughes in the third inning, as Corey Patterson stroked a two-out single and stole second base. Markakis followed with a hit to right field that dropped in front of Duncan, allowing Patterson to race home.

With two on and two out, Hughes nearly escaped damage in the fourth, as first baseman Andy Phillips flagged down Tike Redman's grounder to the right side. But Hughes couldn't handle the flip covering the base, dropping the ball and kicking it down the right-field line as two runs scored.

Relievers Sean Henn and Edwar Ramirez, who shared an automobile ride to Yankee Stadium after being summoned from the club's Triple-A affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, soaked up the majority of the middle innings. Henn threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Ramirez struck out three in a 2 1/3-inning stint, dropping his ERA by more than seven runs.

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