BALTIMORE -- It was a roller-coaster night for the Yankees' emotions at Camden Yards, as New York witnessed a patriotic ceremony, a spectacular comeback and a crushing defeat, all in the span of three hours. After mounting a five-run comeback, the Yankees watched Mariano Rivera give up two runs in the bottom of the ninth, as the Orioles stunned New York with a 7-6 victory.
The Yankees trailed 5-1 as late as the seventh inning, and entered the ninth inning down 5-3. But a leadoff solo home run by Tino Martinez (his 34th) and a two-run blast by Scott Brosius (13), both off Orioles closer Willis Roberts (8-9), gave the Yankees a 6-5 lead, as Manager Joe Torre handed the ball to his reliable closer.
"Any time I bring Mo in, it's over for me. You have to give them credit, they came out swinging the bats and beat us," Torre said. "I think you have to give them more credit than you can blame him. I thought he was throwing the ball well, he just didn't get good results."
Rivera gave up back-to-back singles to Tony Batista and Brady Anderson, and Geronimo Gil moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. With the infield playing in, Jerry Hairston hit the first pitch past a diving Tino Martinez, bringing both runners home for the win.
"My teammates gave me the opportunity to pitch and I blew it," said Rivera, who blew his seventh save in 53 opportunities to fall to 4-6. "That was a good pitch, he just hit it in the right spot. You can't do anything when that happens, you just tip your hat and move on."
"I knew it would stay fair, but I thought Tino was going to catch it," Hairston said. "He made a great effort for it."
The loss, combined with Boston's win over Detroit, left the Yankees' magic number at five, as their lead in the AL East stands at 12 games over the Red Sox. Torre did not seem concerned that his players would play with any less intensity due to their comfortable lead
"There are some days that a club is going to beat you. Baltimore beat us tonight," Torre said. "The only thing that would concern me is if having a big lead is going to affect how we go about it, and I haven't seen that. We want to win, get that magic number to zero, but as long as we continue to play like we've been playing, I'll be pleased."
Mike Mussina, making his first start in 13 days, needed a few innings to get into a rhythm. The Orioles hit their former teammate for four runs in the first three innings, highlighted by Cal Ripken's two-run double in the third, which gave Baltimore a 4-1 lead.
"I thought my stuff was OK, it got better in the last two or three innings after I got my feet under me," Mussina said. "They battled me, I made some pretty good pitches and they fouled them off. I made a good pitch to Cal, but he went down and pulled it down the line."
Mussina went six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits and one walk. He struck out six in the outing, moving him one past teammate Roger Clemens for second in the AL.
"He hasn't pitched, so there was probably a little rust there," Torre said. "You don't know what you're going to get the first time around. He threw a lot of pitches, they made him work hard, fouled off a lot of balls. He threw a lot more pitches early in the game than he normally does."
Orioles starter Rick Bauer pitched well, allowing three runs (two earned) over seven innings. From the first through the seventh, he retired 17 of 18 New York batters, keeping the Yankees from doing any damage on the scoreboard after scoring a run in the top of the first. His only other mistake came in the seventh, when Alfonso Soriano delivered his 18th home run of the season, a two-run blast to left field, cutting Baltimore's lead to 5-3.
After taking the lead on Brosius' home run, everyone in the Yankees dugout thought the game was over, as Rivera strolled to the mound to try to close it out.
"You don't think he's human because he's as good as he is," said Brosius of Rivera. "He makes it look so easy sometimes, you forget that it's hard to do. Innings like that happen once in a while, but they're so few and far between with him, it makes everybody blink twice when it happens.
"You can't dwell on it," added Brosius. "Mo is the best there is out there, and we know that more times than not, we're going to win that game. They did a good job, hit some pitches and stole it right back from us tonight."
Before the game, the first at Camden Yards since last Tuesday's attacks, dozens of local firefighters, police and search and rescue teams -- including rescue teams that were first on the scene at the Pentagon -- were joined by both teams on the basepaths.
"They do it right here," Torre said. "It was very impressive with the firemen and policemen, it was moving. You couldn't help but to get choked up."
New York and Baltimore continue their three-game series on Saturday, as Sterling Hitchcock faces off against Sean Douglass.