Yankees' lead over BoSox cut to two after loss to O's

NEW YORK (AP) -- If only Adam Loewen could pitch against the New
York Yankees all the time.

Loewen beat the Yankees for the second time in August, and four
relievers combined for shutout relief in a a 3-2 victory Wednesday
night that stopped the Orioles' five-game losing streak.

"To get up for today's start in this ballpark is a unique
experience," said Loewen, a 22-year-old left-hander. "I don't
think I take it more seriously than any other start, but I do take
into account they do have a good lineup, and you're a little bit
more careful."

Nine hours after the groundbreaking across the street for the
new Yankee Stadium, Loewen made a memorable debut in the old one.

In his 14th major league appearance, Loewen (3-4) threw a
career-high 107 pitches, allowing two runs and four hits with five
strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. On Aug. 5, he yielded one hit over 6
1/3 innings during a 5-0 win over New York at Camden Yards.

"He cuts his fastball. He throws a four-seamer," Johnny Damon
said. "I thought we had some good swings against him. Some balls
we hit hard found gloves."

Todd Williams, Tim Byrdak, LaTroy Hawkins and Chris Ray
finished, with Ray getting six outs for his 28th save in 30
chances. The bullpen, which has the worst ERA in the American
League, blew a two-run lead for Erik Bedard on Tuesday night in a
6-3 loss.

New York's AL East lead over the second-place Red Sox was cut to
two games. After playing the Orioles on Thursday, the Yankees head
to Boston for a five-game series that opens with a day-night
doubleheader Friday.

"I like the way this team feels right now. It's good to be
ahead," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Baltimore built a 3-0 lead with runs in the first three innings
against Cory Lidle (1-2). Nick Markakis, moved up from ninth to
second in the batting order, homered in the first.

"The funny thing about that," manager Sam Perlozzo said, "was
I went out in the outfield to talk to Nick prior to the game, told
him, 'Just relax. Don't do anything different. I don't expect you
to try to hit the ball out of the ballpark.'"

Then Markakis hit his sixth homer of the season.

"When he came in, I said, 'Look, I told you not to do that,'"
Perlozzo remembered.

"It was funny," Markakis said.

Corey Patterson doubled in the second and Ramon Hernandez
tripled past Alex Rodriguez at third, a ball that bounced past
Melky Cabrera in the left-field corner. Lidle, who gave up five
hits in 6 1/3 innings, walked three in the third, including Kevin
Millar with the bases loaded.

Loewen didn't allow a run until the fifth, when Bernie Williams
doubled leading off and Cabrera doubled with two outs. Williams'
double was his 443rd, moving past Don Mattingly on the Yankees'
career list behind only Lou Gehrig (535).

Robinson Cano hit an RBI single in the sixth, and Loewen left
with runners on second and third after Bernie Williams grounded to
first for the second out. Todd Williams relieved and threw a called
third strike past pinch-hitter Jorge Posada.

Derek Jeter grounded out to end the seventh against Hawkins
after Cabrera singled, stole second with two outs and went to third
when shortstop Miguel Tejada failed to cover second and Hernandez's
throw went into center field.

Ray, who hadn't pitched since Aug. 8, relieved to start the
eighth and gave up singles to Bobby Abreu and Rodriguez, whose
liner to shortstop glanced off the glove of Tejada and into left
field. Cano popped out, and Bernie Williams lined to second baseman
Brian Roberts, who flipped to Tejada for the inning-ending double

Octavio Dotel returned to the major leagues 14 months after a
ligament was replaced in his right elbow, and the hard-throwing
right-hander threw 13 pitches in the eighth for the Yankees.

Dotel, operated on in June 2005, started by striking out Melvin
Mora on eight pitches, his fastball reaching 97 mph, then gave up a
single to Tejada and walked Jay Gibbons on four pitches. Scott Proctor relieved and escaped a bases-loaded jam when Millar
grounded into a double play.

"I'm happy to be back," Dotel said. "Finally, I made it."

Game notes
Tejada got into a discussion with plate umpire Mark Carlson
in the fifth after first base ump CB Bucknor called him out on a
borderline checked swing. ... Abreu walked twice and reached 100
walks for the eighth straight season, tying the major league record
shared by Max Bishop (1926-33) and Frank Thomas (1991-98),
according to the Elias Sports Bureau.