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Daaaaryl... Straw Takes O's For A Ride

Darryl Strawberry and Andy Pettitte once again made themselves right at home at Camden Yards.

Strawberry hit a 465-foot homer and Pettitte remained unbeaten at the Orioles' ballpark as the New York Yankees defeated Baltimore 5-3 Wednesday night to avert a three-game sweep.

Strawberry's 10th homer of the season, a three-run shot to center off Mike Mussina in the first inning, was the longest in the seven-year history of Camden Yards. The drive, which landed at the base of an ivy-covered wall far behind the playing field, was two feet longer than a blast by Oakland's Pedro Munoz in 1996.

In batting practice Strawberry hit one even farther.

"I hit a lot balls to straightaway center today, which was something I wanted to do," he said. "I really felt I had a good rhythm going. I just carried that into the game."

Strawberry hit two homers in a game at Camden Yards in 1996 and had three in the AL championship series that same season.

"When Strawberry hits it you never have to give it a second look because he's so big and strong," New York manager Joe Torre said. "In this ballpark when he hits it, it's outta here. It's just a matter of what the tape measure is going to tell you."

Pettitte (8-5) allowed two runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out three and walked two in improving to 6-0 lifetime at Camden Yards and 8-1 overall against Baltimore.

"The only thing I can think of is I've pitched so much against them over the last four years," Pettitte said. "I have a pretty good idea of what they want to do and where they can't hurt me. I think that might be a little bit to the pitcher's advantage.

"It's hard to explain why I've done so well here. I just don't seem to have any problems here, and tonight Darryl's homer really helped me."

Mariano Rivera gave up a sacrifice fly in the ninth to Cal Ripken before getting his 14th save.

Rafael Palmeiro and Joe Carter hit solo homers for the Orioles, who were vying for their first three-game sweep of the Yankees since 1991.

"We had a chance to sweep and didn't, but if we play at the level we played this series for a pretty long stretch, maybe we can get back to where we're supposed to be," Mussina said.

Pitching for the third time since being struck in the face with a line drive, Mussina (5-4) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings in falling to 3-8 lifetime against the Yankees.

"I'm behind and trying to catch up. It's hit or miss one inning good, one inning bad," he said. "I'll get there, but right now I'm running behind everybody."

It became apparent early that Baltimore would have a difficult time completing the sweep, as New York sent eight players to the plate in the first inning After a one-out walk and a single by Paul O'Neill, Strawberry connected on a 2-1 pitch.

Joe Girardi's second homer of the season made it 4-0 in the fourth, but Palmeiro hit his 19th in the Orioles' half. Chuck Knoblauch hit a run-scoring grounder in the New York sixth.

Carter homered in the bottom of the inning. All nine of his homers have been solo shots.

Notes: Pettitte is 3-4 in his last eight starts, including 2-0 against Baltimore. ... The Orioles played a 12th straight game without an error, one short of the team record. Baltimore has committed just one error in its last 23 games. ... Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, on the disabled list since June 4 with a strained abdominal muscle, will make a rehab start for Triple-A Columbus against Durham on Thursday. ... Ripken went 0-for-3 and is 10-for-55 over his last 14 games.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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