Yankees 6, Orioles 1

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NEW YORK (AP) – Shawn Chacon fought through a cold, raw afternoon and resembled the pitcher who helped save the Yankees last year.

Chacon pitched out of trouble for much of the day, and Hideki Matsui came through with a key two-run double Saturday in the New York Yankees’ 6-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

On Friday night, Matsui took a called third strike on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded, ending New York’s 6-5 loss. With the score 2-1 in this one, his bases-loaded double chased Daniel Cabrera (1-2) with none out in the sixth inning, just before the rain resumed.

It was only 48 degrees at gametime – it felt colder – and the rain let up for a few hours, allowing the teams to get the game in.

Chacon (2-1) lowered his ERA from 8.03 to 5.59, allowing one run and four hits in seven innings. After Baltimore put runners on second and third with one out in the third, he got former AL MVP Miguel Tejada to hit a comebacker, then retired Jay Gibbons on a popup.

Trailing 2-0, Baltimore loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Tejada hit a sacrifice fly before Chacon snagged Gibbons’ sharp comebacker.

Cabrera, who entered with an AL-high 17 walks, displayed a great fastball – he threw a 98 mph pitch past Gary Sheffield in the first – but once again struggled with his command. He gave up six runs, five hits and five walks in five-plus innings, striking out five. His ERA jumped to 6.87.

Derek Jeter’s RBI single in the third and Bernie Williams’ sacrifice fly in the fourth built the 2-0 lead. After Matsui’s hit in the four-run sixth, rain began to fall and many of the remaining fans left – the announced attendance was 50,872 but the crowd at its maximum appeared less than half that.

Johnny Damon hit a run-scoring infield single off John Halama that Tejada made a diving stop on in the shortstop hole but couldn’t hold on to. Eddy Rodriguez came in and walked Jeter with the bases loaded.

Notes: In one of those meaningless baseball oddities, the Yankees are 7-0 in day games and 1-8 at night. … Brian Roberts’ third-inning steal made the Orioles 15-for-15 on stolen-base attempts this year. … Chacon hadn’t allowed a steal in his previous 17 appearances. … Yankees C Kelly Stinnett grabbed Corey Patterson’s fourth-inning foul ball on the third try, letting it pop up off his mitt twice. … New York RHP Carl Pavano (bruised buttocks) threw 71 pitches in his third bullpen session and appears ready to start throwing batting practice soon. “I’m putting the setbacks behind me and moving forward,” Pavano said. “My arm strength is good. My back is fine.” … New York RHP Aaron Small (hamstring) allowed one run and seven hits over six innings against Tampa Bay minor leaguers in his third extended spring training start. He struck out three during a 60-pitch outing. “I felt a little sharper this time than last time,” Small said.

AP-ES-04-22-06 1620EDT

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