Orioles lose Roberts, game

Orioles lose Roberts, game

NEW YORK -- After the Orioles thought they had endured enough drama and despair this year, one of the lasting images of this tumultuous 2005 season occurred Tuesday night.

Brian Roberts kneeled on the Yankee Stadium infield, writhing in pain, his face revealing a combination of shock and helplessness. Roberts' rise to stardom mirrored that of his team, and his agony actually reflected his team's decline in the past few months.

The Orioles were dealt a serious blow when Roberts dislocated his left elbow in a collision with the Yankees' Bubba Crosby in the second inning of New York's 12-9 win at Yankee Stadium. The collision left Roberts unable to stand on his own, and his left arm was completely bent back because of the force of Crosby's body.

Roberts will spend Tuesday night at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, and he will see a specialist on Wednesday. He is out for the season, and the extent of his injury should be determined in the next few days.

"He was hurting," interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. "When I got there, I wasn't sure it was the elbow or shoulder. But he was in a lot of pain. And there wasn't anything you could do to help, so you felt helpless out there.

"You feel for the player. He plays 100 percent all the time, and he's one of our better players. And you just hate to see something like that right now."

With Crosby batting and Bernie Williams at first base, first baseman B.J. Surhoff sensed a bunt was coming and charged immediately. His throw, however, was directly in the line of the chugging Crosby, and Roberts tried pulling his arm back after making the catch, as he has so many times to avoid a runner going full speed. But this time he couldn't, and Crosby ran directly into his left forearm.

Roberts fell to the ground as the ball, which had been jarred loose, lay near first base. Williams trotted home from second base.

"Nobody really knew what to do," Surhoff said. "Bernie didn't know what to do; Bubba Crosby didn't know what to do; I didn't know what to do. You're standing on third base and the ball is sitting next to the guy -- you don't really think about running. After a little while, it was obvious he wasn't going to pick it up. It's more important to make sure he's all right."

Roberts was unable to stand because of the pain, and he turned away as assistant trainer Brian Ebel attended to him. Roberts had to be helped off the field by Ebel and Perlozzo. And as soon as he helped Roberts to the clubhouse, Perlozzo ran onto the field to argue with home plate umpire Sam Holbrook. Perlozzo argued that Crosby, who hit the game-winning homer on Monday, was inside the baseline. He was ejected.

Perlozzo said the exchange was out of frustration sparked by the injury.

"I really wasn't arguing in the first place," Perlozzo said. "I was asking him if the runner was in the baseline. I guess I said something that he didn't care for. I shouldn't have said anything else. I was just upset that my player was obviously in tremendous pain. It wasn't the umpire's fault that it happened."

Crosby was visibly upset after the game. He and Roberts were teammates on the 1997 USA National Team, and the two discussed having lunch next week in Baltimore. Crosby said he asked Surhoff if he was inside the line, and Surhoff said he wasn't.

"B.J. said I was in the baseline, but the throw was inside and late as well," Crosby said. "Listening to [Roberts], you can tell he was in some serious pain, and my stomach just dropped. It's just a freak thing. He's such a great guy and a great ballplayer, and he's had such a solid year. You hate to see him end the season like this."

"I don't know what to say about that situation, especially losing one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball; it's tough. There's a lot going on this year, and this is a big one. You lose Brian Roberts -- it's like losing half the team."
-- Melvin Mora

It was an ugly game from the start for the Orioles, who now have lost five of six since a four-game winning streak. Rookie John Maine, making his first start at Yankee Stadium, was blinded by the bright lights. He allowed a mammoth three-run home run to Jorge Posada in the first, which gave New York a 4-0 lead.

The Orioles responded with three runs in the top of the second. Two came in on a double by David Newhan, and another scored on Roberts' triple.

Maine pitched into the second, but he was unable to record an out. Williams led off with a single, then he came home on Crosby's infamous bunt. Derek Jeter followed with a routine tapper back to the mound, but instead of a double play, Maine bobbled it and both runners were safe.

Acting manager Tom Trebelhorn sensed Maine was wilting under the magnifying glass, and he removed the 24-year-old in favor of veteran James Baldwin. One out later, Jason Giambi hit a blooper that fell between three Orioles fielders, loading the bases. Gary Sheffield followed by looping a towering fly ball into the left-field corner. The ball landed just beyond the 318-feet sign for a grand slam and a 9-3 lead.

The Orioles mounted a rally, as they scored a run in the sixth, two in the seventh -- on Jay Gibbons' two-run homer -- and another in the eighth. But Jorge Julio allowed the game to get away by giving up two runs in the eighth, including Alex Rodriguez's upper-deck home run.

After the game, the players were not focused on the defeat, but rather on losing a teammate. Third baseman Melvin Mora, whose locker is next to Roberts', was saddened.

"I don't know what to say about that situation, especially losing one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball; it's tough," Mora said. "There's a lot going on this year, and this is a big one. You lose Brian Roberts -- it's like losing half the team."

Roberts finished the season with a .314 batting average, 18 homers and 73 RBIs -- all career highs -- as he established himself as one of the league's top second basemen.

Gary Washburn is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.