The Orioles hope to continue their recent offensive success against the Yankees while trying to take over sole possession of the division lead Friday night at Camden Yards.
Mark Reynolds homered twice and Matt Wieters hit a three-run shot for three of Baltimore's season-high six home runs during Thursday's 10-6 victory over New York to open this pivotal four-game set. The outcome left the teams tied atop the division for the second time in three days.
If the opener was indication, these clubs could be in for a wild weekend at Camden Yards, which will be sold out for a second straight night Friday.
The Orioles (77-60) have won 10 of 13 overall, including three of four over New York (77-60) during that stretch. Baltimore has won eight of 11 against the Yankees since dropping the first four of the season series. It's totaled 18 runs and 23 hits while winning the last two."They are playing with a lot of confidence right now," said New York's Alex Rodriguez , who went 1 for 4 Thursday to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. "You have to tip your hat to Baltimore."
New York, which owned a 10-game division lead on July 18, has lost 11 of 16.
The Orioles built a 6-1 lead, but the Yankees tied the score with five runs in the eighth. Baltimore's Adam Jones broke that tie with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the frame.
"That's the biggest hit I've ever had in my life," said Jones, who's 8 for 17 with two homers in the last four games. "Everything else up to this point has been leading up to this."
Chris Davis added a solo shot and Reynolds delivered a two-run blast to highlight the four-run eighth for Baltimore, which has hit 24 home runs against the Yankees in 2012.
Wieters is batting .197 in his last 22 games, but .404 (23 for 57) with four homers while hitting safely in all 15 versus New York this season.
Reynolds, 6 for 11 with four home runs and nine RBIs in his last three games, has hit .440 (11 for 25) with six homers and 11 RBIs in his last seven against the Yankees. He's posted three multi-homer games in the last four versus New York.
Reynolds hit a pair of homers Sunday off New York starter Phil Hughes (13-12, 4.18 ERA), who allowed five runs in five innings of the Yankees' 8-3 defeat. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA versus Baltimore this season - all in the Bronx.
Hughes is 1-2 with an 8.20 ERA in four starts at Camden Yards, but has not pitched there since 2010. Though Hughes is 10-4 with a 3.56 ERA at home this season, he's 3-8 with a 5.03 ERA away from the Bronx.
Ichiro Suzuki went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and Curtis Granderson drove in a pair of runs Thursday for the Yankees. Suzuki was 1 for 11 in his previous five games while Granderson was mired in a 4-for-38 (.105) stretch before recording two hits.
New York will hope to bounce back against Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen (12-8, 3.79), who gave up four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 loss at New York on Saturday.
The rookie left-hander is 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in three starts against the Yankees.
|New York Yankees|
|September 02, 2012||Curtis Granderson||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring tendinitis|
|August 27, 2012||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Strained left calf|
|August 22, 2012||Ivan Nova||15-Day DL||Right shoulder tightness|
|August 22, 2012||Ivan Nova||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder tightness|
|August 17, 2012||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
|August 09, 2012||CC Sabathia||15-Day DL||Left elbow soreness|
|September 02, 2012||Chris Tillman||Day-to-Day||Left game - stiff right elbow|
|August 22, 2012||Matt Wieters||Day-to-Day||Left game - right shoulder contusion|
|August 13, 2012||Troy Patton||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle|
|August 12, 2012||Wilson Betemit||15-Day DL||Sore right wrist|
|August 12, 2012||Wilson Betemit||15-Day DL||Sore right wrist|
|August 02, 2012||Ryan Flaherty||15-Day DL||Bacterial infection|
BALTIMORE (AP) -- It's the time of year when milestones are far less important than victories, so for Alex Rodriguez , the significance of his 300th home run with the Yankees was solely that it helped New York regain sole possession of first place in the AL East.
Homers by Rodriguez, Russell Martin and Steve Pearce provided New York with a seven-run cushion in the fifth inning, and the Yankees held on to beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-5 on Friday night.
New York had lost eight of 11 to the Orioles, including the opener of this four-game series between division rivals that runs through Sunday.
Rodriguez chased rookie Wei-Yin Chen with a two-run drive in the fifth - the 645th home run of his career. Only five players have more homers in a Yankees uniform than A-Rod, who obviously isn't keeping track of such things.
"I had no idea I had 300," Rodriguez said. "The only numbers we're worried about right now is Ws. Whatever you are going to do for the year is already done. The numbers are done. We're worried about one thing and that's winning games."
Rodriguez, who also singled, extended his hitting streak to 11 games - his longest run since a 12-gamer in 2009. Wearing the replica green University of Miami jersey of linebacker Ray Lewis (now with the Baltimore Ravens), Rodriguez seemed more interested in talking about the team than himself.
"It was huge," Rodriguez said of the win. "Every game from now on is huge, especially when you get to September. One of the challenges I have for the offense is that we should be able to score six runs every night. If we're disciplined and put up great at-bats, six runs is a good number."
The pitching was decent, too.
Phil Hughes (14-12) allowed three runs, two earned, in six innings to end a streak of five straight road losses since June 15. The right-hander did, however, yield his 33rd home run, one less than Ervin Santana of the Angels, who gave up two Friday night.
In his previous start, Hughes gave up five runs and two homers in five innings Sunday at Yankee Stadium in an 8-3 loss to the Orioles.
Asked if he felt additional pressure pitching in a pennant race, Hughes said, "I treated it like any other game. I tried to pitch the best ball game I could. That doesn't really change start to start. It was a good win for us."
Adam Jones , Robert Andino and Manny Machado homered for the Orioles, who got three hits from Nate McLouth but missed a chance to move ahead of the Yankees for the first time since June 7.
Baltimore was backed by a near-sellout crowd of 40,861. But unlike Thursday night, when the Orioles hit six homers in a 10-6 win, most of the fans were silent at the end.
"There was a lot of energy there again. The fans were great," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Just a disappointment we couldn't return the favor."
Chen faced only 10 batters through the first three innings, only two more than he had to handle in New York's five-run fourth. Chen hit Nick Swisher on the foot with a pitch and walked Robinson Cano before Rodriguez struck out. Martin then pulled a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats. One out and one single later, Pearce homered to left over the outstretched glove of McLouth, whose contention of fan interference was quickly dismissed by third-base umpire Mike Winters.
For Pearce, who played earlier this season with Baltimore, it was his first home run with New York.
After Rodriguez hit his 16th homer of the season in the fifth, Chen was done. The left-hander has surrendered 25 home runs in 28 games, including seven in his past four starts.
"Actually I feel real good today," Chen said through an interpreter. "I wasn't able to attack the strike zone like in the late innings, and that was the problem. This is the Yankees, and I made a couple of mistakes and they made me pay the price."
Jones gave Orioles fans some hope in the sixth when he connected with two on to cut the gap to 7-3. It was his 29th of the year and the second in two games.
Andino homered off Cody Eppley in the seventh, but New York got that run back in the ninth on an RBI single by Derek Jeter . McLouth then robbed Swisher of a home run, leaping above the 7-foot wall to grab the ball out of the waiting hands of a fan in a Yankees shirt.
Machado homered with two outs in the ninth.
NOTES: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira (strained left calf) intends to return Saturday. He has not played since Aug. 27. ... Baltimore recalled RHP Jake Arrieta from Triple-A Norfolk. He started on opening day for the Orioles but went 3-9 with a 6.13 ERA before being optioned. ... New York has been in first place every day since June 11. ... Rodriguez scored his 1,882nd run to move into a tie for 10th place with Tris Speaker on the career list. ... Matt Wieters went hitless, ending his 15-game hitting streak against the Yankees this season. ... New York's CC Sabathia will pitch Saturday against Baltimore's Joe Saunders .