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Matusz struggles as Orioles fall to Yankees 6-2

New York Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova throws against the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Monday, April 9, 2012. New York Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova throws against the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Monday, April 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
By David Ginsburg
AP Sports Writer / April 9, 2012
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BALTIMORE—The Baltimore Orioles' unbeaten record, along with a run of effective starts by their pitching staff, ended with a resounding thud.

Brian Matusz allowed four runs in four laborious innings, and the Orioles wasted a 4-for-4 performance by Matt Wieters in a 6-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Monday night.

Matusz went 1-10 last year, but pitched well enough in spring training to earn the fourth spot in the rotation. Unfortunately, his performance against the Yankees was much more similar to 2011 than last month.

The left-hander gave up six hits, walked four and needed 96 pitches to get 12 outs.

"That's a tough lineup," Matusz said. "I was just trying to be a little bit too fine with a lot of their big hitters rather than trusting my stuff and attacking the zone. I felt strong throughout the whole game. ... It's just being able to settle in and getting ahead of the count."

Baltimore opened the season with a three-game sweep of Minnesota. In that series, Orioles starters allowed one earned run in 22 innings.

Matusz was unable to continue the trend. As a result, Baltimore could not keep its modest winning streak alive.

"I feel a lot better about that outing than I would last year," manager Buck Showalter said. "I think you'll see better things from him."

Derek Jeter went 4 for 4 and Ivan Nova gave up two runs in seven innings for the Yankees, who secured their first win of the season.

Jeter singled and scored in the first inning, singled in the third, hit an RBI double in a three-run fourth, sacrificed in the sixth and singled in the eighth. He came in batting .231 with no runs and no RBIs.

"A lot of times the first of everything is the most difficult to get in a season," Jeter said. "Whether it's the first hit, first RBI, first win."

Especially a win.

New York began the season by losing three straight to Tampa Bay and was in danger of going 0-4 for only the fourth time in franchise history.

"It's good to get the first one," Jeter said. "You don't want to think about it too long."

Andruw Jones homered for the Yankees, who last went 0-3 in 1998.

"You always want to get that first one out of the way," manager Joe Girardi said.

Nova (1-0) allowed two runs and 10 hits (six for extra bases) in seven innings, striking out seven with no walks. The right-hander went 16-4 last year but was 1-2 with an 8.06 ERA during spring training.

It was Nova's 13th straight win, tied with Ron Guidry for the third-longest streak in Yankees history.

Matusz kept it close until New York sent eight batters to the plate in the fourth. Russell Martin followed two straight walks with his first hit of the season, an RBI single, and Eduardo Nunez hit a sacrifice fly before Jeter doubled in a run.

Jones homered off Darren O'Day in the sixth, and Brett Gardner singled in a run in the seventh for a 6-1 lead.

Chris Davis doubled in a run for Baltimore in the seventh.

New York's big-name players wasted no time pushing the team in the right direction. Jeter began the game with a single, Alex Rodriguez drew a two-out walk and Mark Teixeira -- who stepped to the plate with a .111 batting average and no RBIs -- delivered a run-scoring single.

It was the first time this season that Baltimore trailed. Wieters rectified that in the second inning by hitting a 2-0 pitch over the right-field wall.

NOTES: Jeter is 11 for 22 lifetime against Matusz. ... In his last three starts against New York, Matusz is 0-2 with a 12.66 ERA. ... Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte allowed one run and two hits over three innings for Class-A Tampa Monday night in his second game since ending a one-year retirement. ... Orioles LHP Wei-Yin Chen makes his U.S. debut Tuesday night against Yankees RHP Freddy Garcia. Chen, a Taiwan native who pitched in Japan for the last four seasons, says he's familiar with Jeter and Rodriguez. "I heard about them in Taiwan and Japan. They are really big names over there, too." ... Baltimore LHP Tsuyoshi Wada, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left elbow, pitched six innings in an extended spring training game Monday.

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