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DuBose, Orioles cool off Yankees

9/17/2003

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Bidding for his 200th career victory, David
Wells was virtually unhittable -- two innings too late.

Larry Bigbie and Jay Gibbons homered, and the Baltimore Orioles
got a fine pitching performance from Eric DuBose in defeating Wells
and the New York Yankees 5-3 on Wednesday night.

Juan Rivera homered for New York, which maintained its 5{-game
lead over Boston in the AL East after the Red Sox lost to Tampa Bay
7-0. The Yankees, whose magic number to clinch the division is six,
were 10-1 in their previous 11 games.

Wells (14-7) went the distance, allowing only one hit over his
final six innings and retiring the final 13 batters. But the
left-hander was undone by a poor start, as Baltimore scored five
runs on six hits to take a 5-0 second-inning lead.

"He just didn't look like he was comfortable," Yankees manager
Joe Torre said. "He was throwing good, he had a good bullpen. When
he came in, he made some pitches down the middle and they whacked
him. After that, he was terrific."

The only runner against Wells over the final six innings was
Deivi Cruz, who hit a one-out single in the fourth. He was wiped
out attempting to steal.

"With the good ones, you've got to get them early because late
in the game they're tough," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said.

It was only Wells' second road loss of the season -- both of
which have come this month.

He gave up seven hits, walked none and struck out four in his
42nd career complete game. Wells was bidding to become the 99th
pitcher in major league history to reach 200 victories.

"It doesn't matter if I win or if someone else wins," he said.
"It's if the team gets the win. I'm not even thinking about
that."

DuBose (3-5) allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings for the
Orioles, who won for only the fifth time in their last 23 games
against the Yankees.

DuBose, who came in 0-2 with a 14.22 ERA against the Yankees,
allowed nine hits but was backed by two double plays. The
left-hander was pulled after Rivera homered off the left-field foul
pole to get New York to 5-3 in the seventh.

"Tonight was a battle," DuBose said. "If I don't have my
changeup going, I'm out of there in three innings. I was able to
throw my fastball enough to keep them off the changeup, and I was
able to grind it out for 6 2-3 innings."

Jorge Julio worked a perfect ninth for his 34th save in 41
tries.

With Wells mowing down the Orioles and DuBose throwing well, the
game was played in a brisk 2 hours, 12 minutes.

"It didn't take very long, so it wasn't that painful," Torre
said.

Bigbie put the Orioles up 1-0 in the first with his eighth
homer, an opposite-field drive to left.

Baltimore sent up eight batters in a four-run second. Gibbons
led off with a titanic homer to right, his 23rd of the season, and
Luis Matos and B.J. Surhoff followed with singles. Wells retired
the next two batters, but Brian Roberts singled in a run and Jerry
Hairston added an RBI double.

"I just had a bad inning," Wells said. "The second inning, I
left the first pitch down the middle of the plate. I just got
pitches up that inning."

After that, he was nearly perfect. But the Orioles already had
enough runs to win.

"We were able to get ourselves in good hitting counts early,"
Bigbie said. "As the game went on, he started to get hot and get
ahead in the count. When he gets ahead in the count, he's a good
pitcher."

The Yankees got a run in the fourth when Jason Giambi hit his
second double of the game, took third on Jorge Posada's single and
scored when Hideki Matsui bounced a single off DuBose's glove.

Game notes
Mike Mussina will go for his 200th career win Thursday. The
game has been moved to 12:35 p.m. from 7:05 p.m. because of the
threat of bad weather from Hurricane Isabel. ... New York has hit
eight homers in its last three games, and 212 for the season. ...
Baltimore has outscored the opposition 169-127 in the first two
innings this season. ... Bigbie extended his career-high hitting
streak to nine games.