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Yankees Lose Again; Brown Is Out

September 05, 2004|From Times Wire Reports

NEW YORK — Sidney Ponson became the latest pitcher to stop the suddenly punchless New York Yankees, throwing a two-hitter for his fourth career shutout in the Baltimore Orioles' 7-0 victory Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

Ponson (10-13) faced only 29 batters -- two more than the minimum -- and did not allow a runner past first. In fact, the Yankees have advanced only one runner beyond first in their last 17 innings -- since the first inning of a 3-1 loss to Rodrigo Lopez and the Orioles on Friday night.

New York leads the East Division by only 2 1/2 games over Boston, which had its 10-game winning streak end Saturday with an 8-6 loss to Texas.

And the Yankees will be without starting pitcher Kevin Brown for at least three weeks -- possibly the rest of the season. He was examined by a hand specialist at Yankee Stadium after breaking his non-pitching hand when he punched a clubhouse wall Friday night. He will undergo surgery today to insert a pin in his hand.

"Three weeks is certainly the optimistic scenario, and the worst case is he won't be able to pitch for the rest of the year," Yankee Manager Joe Torre said of Brown, who has been one of the best starters (10-4, 3.99 earned-run average) on an inconsistent staff.

"For certain, I'm happy it's the left and not the right. The thing that bothers me is that he thought enough to throw the left and not the right. I wish he would have thought a little more on that subject."

The harshest criticism of Brown within the Yankee clubhouse came from Mike Mussina (9-9), who yielded only two runs in seven innings, his best outing since coming off the disabled list.

"If you are going to get hurt playing the game, let's get hurt playing the game," Mussina said. "But to take yourself out for possibly the rest of the season, it's frustrating for the rest of the team.

"We were counting on him all year and he missed a lot of time and now he's going to miss some more time. We've all been frustrated, upset, said some things we wish we can take back. But physically doing something to injure yourself, I can't relate to that."

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