BALTIMORE - George Steinbrenner isn’t paying $200 million in player salaries to watch his New York Yankees sputter along in last place.
The outspoken owner waited all of two weeks before demanding that his team start winning — or else.
Miguel Tejada hit his eighth career grand slam, and the Baltimore Orioles roughed up Kevin Brown and completed a three-game sweep of New York with an 8-4 victory Sunday. The Yankees (4-8) have dropped four straight and eight of 10 overall.
“Enough is enough. I am bitterly disappointed as I’m sure all Yankee fans are by the lack of performance by our team,” Steinbrenner said in a statement issued immediately after the game.
“It is unbelievable to me that the highest-paid team in baseball would start the season in such a deep funk. They are not playing like true Yankees. They have the talent to win and they are not winning. I expect Joe Torre, his complete coaching staff and the team to turn this around.”
Torre, who held a brief team meeting after the game, did not take Steinbrenner’s comments lightly.
“He’s right. What are you going to say? I’m not going to dispute that,” the manager said. “If I try to defend what we’ve been doing, you’d have to check my sanity. This stuff out here is not pretty. We have to make it better. No question.”
Melvin Mora homered for the Orioles, who took a 6-0 lead in the second inning and coasted to their sixth win in seven games. Baltimore improved to 5-1 against New York this season after their first sweep of the Yankees since 2000.
Ruben Sierra and Alex Rodriguez homered for the Yankees, whose four-game losing streak matches their longest skid of 2004. New York, which went 14-5 against Baltimore a year ago, has been outscored by the Orioles 47-26 this season.
The Yankees concluded a 1-5 road trip that included two losses in three games against their archrivals, the Boston Red Sox. That was bad enough, but Steinbrenner could no longer contain his anger after watching New York get swept by a team mired in a run of seven straight losing seasons.
“What did you expect him to say, we’re playing great? Keep up the good work?” Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. “We haven’t been playing well. It’s easy to see. We just have to turn it around. That’s basically it.”
Said Torre: “We just need to get a little spark back. We’re flat right now, we’re on our heels and we’re not playing well.”
The Orioles, on the other hand, are performing far better than expected.
Tejada went 3-for-4 with two doubles, raising his batting average to .375 and his AL-leading RBI total to 18. He went 6-for-12 with eight RBIs in the series.
ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Harvey pitched six hitless innings, John Buck homered and the New York Mets held off another Atlanta comeback, beating the Braves 4-3 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.
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