NEW YORK (AP) -- Anna Benson watched nervously as her husband
took on the Yankees in his return to New York.
"He had something to prove," she said, "and he proved it."
Coming off stints with the Yankees' biggest rivals, Kris Benson
and Kevin Millar boosted Baltimore to a 6-5 victory Friday night
that ended with Hideki Matsui taking a called third strike from
Chris Ray on a full-count slider with the bases loaded.
"Unbelievable," Alex Rodriguez said. "They deserved it."
Booed all night, Millar hit a two-run single in the sixth inning
that turned a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead against Chien-Ming Wang
(1-1). Millar also doubled to spark a three-run third.
"Until I play for the Yankees, I don't think they're ever going
to love me," said Millar, who spent the previous three seasons
with Boston, helping the Red Sox beat the Yankees in 2004 en route
to their first World Series title since 1918.
Dealt by the Mets to Baltimore during the offseason, perhaps
because of his attention-grabbing wife, Benson (2-2) allowed four
runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.
"The one game I got to pitch here last year was a lot of fun,"
he said. "So I knew that coming back in here was going to be
exciting for me. Of course I wanted to pitch well coming back to
Baltimore, which has won three straight and nine of 12, didn't
retire the side in order all night.
Ray walked Derek Jeter with one out and Gary Sheffield singled.
Rodriguez then struck out, drawing loud boos. After the runners
moved up on defensive indifference, Jason Giambi loaded the bases
with a walk from Ray.
"When he came in, I said to myself -- I didn't want say it to
anyone on the bench and jinx him -- this would be a real test,"
Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.
It sure was.
Matsui took a close 2-2 pitch for a ball, then looked fooled by
the slider. While Matsui turned and groaned, catcher Ramon
Hernandez raised his right fist in triumph.
"I was expecting a fastball, but I was also expecting a
slider," Matsui said through a translator.
Perlozzo called the last pitch "gutsy."
"The slider would be the best pitch to throw there, plus he
wouldn't be expecting it," Ray said. "Maybe next time they'll
look for it, and I'll throw the fastball."
Sheffield's single following Jeter's triple high off the
right-center fence in the first, Robinson Cano's two-run homer in
the fourth and Rodriguez's RBI single in the fifth had given the
Yankees a 4-3 lead.
Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth on
"I'm not a good enough player to be booed," he said. "Most of
the time, only the good players get booed."
Wang gave up six runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. Baltimore
made it 6-4 when Scott Proctor walked rookie Nick Markakis with the
Consecutive doubles by Matsui and Posada off LaTroy Hawkins
pulled the Yankees within a run in the eighth.
New York, which dropped to 7-8, stranded 10 runners and was just
4-for-15 with runners in scoring position but still had a chance to
win it on the final pitch.
"I don't know if there's anyone in baseball looking for a 3-2
slider in that situation," Jeter said.
Even before the first pitch, it was a night for compelling story
Baltimore was playing its first game against the Yankees since
its former manager, Lee Mazzilli, returned to New York as a bench
Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts returned to Yankee Stadium
for the first time since he dislocated his left elbow last Sept. 20
in a nasty collision at first base with Bubba Crosby. In addition
to Benson, it marked a return to New York for Orioles vice
president Jim Duquette, the Mets' former general manager.
"It has nothing to do anymore with beating the Yankees,"
Millar said. "We're trying to play good baseball and win a bunch
Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard returned
after missing opening day for the first time since 1950. Sheppard
injured a hip the night before the opener. ... A moment of silence
was observed before the game in memory of Gulf Coast Yankees
manager Oscar Acosta and Humberto Trejo, field coordinator the
Dominican Summer League Yankees. They were killed in a car crash
Wednesday. ... Melvin Mora had a two-run infield single to
shortstop in the third as Jeter rushed a high throw to first, and
Tejada followed with an RBI single.