BALTIMORE (AP) -- Upon finishing the trip around the bases after his first walk-off homer in the major leagues, Brian Roberts was mobbed at the plate before absorbing a big hug by Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli.
"It felt good," Mazzilli said, referring to the impromptu embrace and a victory that ended the Orioles' six-game losing streak.Roberts homered on Mike Stanton's first pitch in the 10th inning and Rafael Palmeiro hit a milestone shot to lead Baltimore past the New York Yankees 5-4 on Tuesday night.Larry Bigbie also homered for the Orioles, who rallied from a three-run deficit."We had a little sense of urgency tonight, more so than in the past week," Roberts said. "There was more emotion, more excitement, more energy than we've had in the past couple days."Baltimore ended its longest skid of the season with a passionate comeback before a sellout crowd of 47,465 at Camden Yards."That's the way to do it," Mazzilli said. "We had our backs against the wall, losing six straight, playing this team. We came back."Palmeiro hit his 563rd homer to tie Reggie Jackson for ninth place."These are all huge names, the greatest players of all-time," Palmeiro said, cradling the baseball. "Reggie ranks up there on that list."Best of all, the two-run, sixth-inning drive started the Orioles on their way back from a 4-1 deficit."That's why it's big, because we got back in the game," Palmeiro said. "We needed this game tonight."The two RBI gave Palmeiro 1,813 and moved him past Frank Robinson into 15th place. Palmeiro needs 10 hits to join Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the only players in major-league history with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.Baltimore tied it in the eighth off Tom Gordon and Roberts ended it with his 13th homer, a shot to left off Stanton (1-2)."I never hit a walk-off homer. I haven't hit many homers, period, until this year," said Roberts, who started the season with 12 career home runs."It's hard to take," Stanton said. "Regardless of what happens before I go in there, he puts me in there to hold the lead and I throw one pitch. It's just disgraceful."New York manager Joe Torre turned to Stanton to get the switch-hitting Roberts to bat from the right side."We saw enough of Roberts hitting left-handed. We just wanted to turn him around and see if it made a difference," Torre said. "I guess it didn't."B.J. Ryan (1-1) pitched two perfect innings for the Orioles, who improved to 6-2 against New York.Sammy Sosa was dropped to sixth in the batting order for the first time this season, a move that manager Lee Mazzilli hoped would take pressure off the slumping slugger. But an 0-for-4 night left Sosa in a 1-for-23 skid that lowered his batting average to .235.Robinson Cano homered and scored two runs for the Yankees and Hideki Matsui went 3-for-4 with a solo homer, a double and two RBI.Earlier in the day, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner met with his top advisers for five hours. The session in Tampa, Fla., came one day after Steinbrenner issued a statement saying his "patience is a little short" and "the players have to want to win as much as I do."New York general manager Brian Cashman said the meeting focused on "ways to be better.""That's the bottom line ... as simple as that," Cashman said. "Obviously, we've underperformed at this stage. We're looking to improve on what we've got. That's it. These meetings happen in the spring, in the midseason and the winter. We're always looking for solutions to try and be better everyday."New York rookie Chien-Ming Wang allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings, striking out three and walking none. He left with a 4-3 lead, but Baltimore promptly tied it in the eighth.Gordon issued a leadoff walk to Roberts and then threw wildly to first after fielding a bunt by Bigbie. Miguel Tejada followed with an RBI single up the middle.Gordon then struck out Palmeiro and Jay Gibbons before Sosa hit a grounder in the hole at shortstop that Derek Jeter gloved and deftly threw to third baseman Alex Rodriguez for a forceout.
The start of the game was delayed by rain for 33 minutes. ... Five of Cano's six homers have been solo shots. ... The Orioles played an errorless game and have only five errors in their last 25 games.