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Lopez's two homers help O's avoid Yankees sweep

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Lopez & Lopez tandem staged another
successful performance, this time at the expense of the New York
Yankees.

Javy Lopez hit two of Baltimore's four home runs, Rodrigo Lopez
won his third straight start, and the Orioles won 11-4 Sunday to
avert a three-game sweep.

Rodrigo Lopez had gone winless in nine straight starts before
Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo put Javy Lopez, the backup to Ramon
Hernandez, behind the plate to catch the right-hander on May 25 in
Seattle.

Lopez & Lopez have been a team for three starts now, and Rodrigo
Lopez is 3-0 during that time. He blanked the Yankees through six
innings before being chased in the seventh, but by that time the
Orioles had built a huge lead.

On Sunday, Javy Lopez did more than just call the right pitches.
He led off the second inning with a homer and hit a three-run drive
in the fifth to make it 10-0. It was his 22nd career multihomer
game, the first since 2004.

"A day like this is always good to have. It kind of got my
confidence back where I want it," said Lopez, who entered with
three homers in 37 games. "At the same time, catching Rodrigo in
another winner makes me feel even better."

Lopez took credit for making Rodrigo Lopez pick up the pace, but
said the pitcher has done most of the work in turning around his
dismal start.

"Rodrigo has been the consistent the last three starts hitting
the corners and keeping the ball down," he said.

Kevin Millar and rookie Brandon Fahey homered in a five-run
third against Aaron Small (0-3).

"The first two games of the series weren't great for us (two
one-run losses), but we scrounged back and got a big win today,"
Millar said.

Fahey had three hits and two RBI, and Corey Patterson stole two
bases to raise his AL-leading total to 25. He has steals in eight
straight games, the longest run in the majors since Kenny Lofton
had an eight-game streak in 1996.

The short-handed Yankees were without Jason Giambi, who missed a
second straight game with a stomach virus.

Alex Rodriguez returned after missing two games with the same
ailment, going 0-for-4 with a walk, but New York lost Derek Jeter
after Rodrigo Lopez hit him in the right hand with a pitch in the
sixth inning. The injury was diagnosed as a bruised thumb; x-rays
were negative.

"Thank goodness the results of the x-rays were fine," Yankees
manager Joe Torre said. "Hopefully he'll be all right tomorrow."

The loss dropped New York a half-game behind first-place Boston
in the AL East. The teams begin a four-game series in New York on
Monday.

The Yankees took two of three from the Orioles without some of
their top hitters, but Torre doesn't want to face the Red Sox
without Jeter and Giambi.

"I want to be optimistic. I know if they're not back it's only
because it's impossible," the manager said. "If there is any
chance at all they'll be back for that series. Everybody seems to
forget what's wrong with them."

New York entered Sunday's game with two impressive streaks, one
of which ended. The Yankees extended their run of games with at
least 10 hits to 11, but failed to take a lead for the first time
in 16 games.

That's because Rodrigo Lopez was sharp from the outset and Small
yielded three homers and seven runs in 2 2-3 innings.

Small, who went 10-0 for New York last year, has a 9.67 ERA.

"Bad location," Torre said. "When he gets hurt it's location,
because he certainly doesn't have enough velocity to go and
challenge people. He pretty much has to locate his pitches. That
was the case right from the get-to today."

The Orioles went up 1-0 in the first inning. Melvin Mora snapped
an 0-for-15 skid with a bunt single, took third on a hit-and-run
single by Miguel Tejada and scored on a sacrifice fly by Hernandez.

Lopez homered in the second, and Baltimore batted around to take
a 7-0 lead in the third. Mora hit a leadoff double and scored on a
single by Tejada, who took third on a double by Hernandez. Millar
hit the next pitch over the left-field wall, and Fahey chased Small
with a drive off the right-field foul pole.

Javy Lopez connected off former Oriole Scott Erickson in the
fifth.

The Yankees avoided their first shutout of the season when
Miguel Cairo singled in a run in the seventh before rookie Kevin
Thompson, playing in place of Jeter, hit a three-run double.

Patterson singled in the bottom half, stole two bases and scored
on a single by Fahey.

Game notes
Small has yielded nine homers in 22 1-3 innings. Last year,
he gave up four in 76 innings. ... All three games in the series
were sellouts, giving Baltimore four this season. ... Thompson's
RBI were his first in the majors.