In case the kid needs a quick history lesson, left-hander David Wells won a game for Baltimore, Cecil Fielder and Darryl Strawberry homered for the Yankees, and a youngster named Jeffrey Maier stuck his glove in the middle of the whole thing.
The 1996 AL championship series was a lifetime ago for many Orioles fans and a rather meaningless event in the development of Machado, now 20 and a key player in Baltimore's improbable, magnificent 2012 season.
Sixteen years after the Yankees ousted the Orioles from the playoffs and advanced to the World Series, the teams resume their rivalry Sunday night in Game 1 of the AL division series. It will be Baltimore's first home postseason game since 1997.
The Orioles spent much of the season chasing New York in the AL East, and now they have an opportunity to get the better of the Yankees in a far more significant scenario. After New York swept a three-game set in Baltimore in April, the Orioles rebounded to forge a split of the 18-game season series."We've played those guys a lot this year. We know what they've got, they know what we've got," Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds said. "It'll come down to a big pitch or a big at-bat."
Or, the outcome could be influenced by a fan in pursuit of a souvenir. In the eighth inning of Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, Maier stuck his glove over the right-field wall and appeared to rob Tony Tarasco of the chance to catch a deep fly hit by Derek Jeter . Umpire Rich Garcia called it a home run, and the Yankees won in extra innings en route to capturing the series 4-1.
Jeter and Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte , who won the decisive fifth game of that series, have been to many playoff series since. In this one, they enter as part of a team that went 14-4 down the stretch to finish with the AL's best record.
And yet, the Yankees open the series on the road."That's the topic of discussion right now but, you know, this is a one year thing and we're going to have to win some games on the road most likely anyway if we make it to the promised land," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "We're not going to complain about starting the first two on the road."
And the Orioles? Well, they're delighted to be playing in front of their home fans, but really, they're just happy to be playing at this time of year - period.
After their abrupt exit from the postseason in 1996, the Orioles returned in 1997. Fourteen straight losing seasons followed before they put together an unimaginable 93-69 record this year under former Yankees manager Buck Showalter. For an encore, Baltimore beat the Texas Rangers and their best pitcher Yu Darvish 5-1 on Friday night in the one-game, win-or-go-home wild-card round.
The Yankees' first-game starter will be ace CC Sabathia (15-6, 3.38 ERA). The big left-hander came into the season 16-2 versus the Orioles and 10-1 in Baltimore, but that was against the old Orioles. This year, he went 0-2 in three starts at Camden Yards." Adam Jones has gotten a lot better, obviously; Mark Reynolds has gotten adjusted to the American League and is swinging the bat well," Sabathia said Saturday before the Yankees' workout at Camden Yards. "(Matt) Wieters has gotten better over the years, so they've just gotten a bunch of talented guys that have gotten a lot better and they've made it tough on me."
On Sept. 8, Sabathia yielded five runs and eight hits - including three homers - in 6 1-3 innings. That prompted questions about his health, and Sabathia insisted he was fine.
He proved it in his final three starts of the regular season, going 2-0 while allowing four runs and 13 hits in 24 innings.
Showalter has selected Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.43) to start on the mound for the Orioles, even though the right-hander has pitched only twice since July 17 and not since Sept. 11. Hammel had surgery on his right knee in July and returned to pitch in two games before experiencing pain in the same knee."No concern with the knee," Hammel said. "First and foremost, I want to thank Buck for having the confidence in putting me back out there in such an important situation."
Hammel was 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA on June 22. He lost his next four starts, in part because the knee was becoming a problem, and he went on the disabled list after making an early exit from a game in Detroit on July 13.
He pitched a simulated game Monday and a bullpen session Friday, and said both sessions went well." He's not so far removed. It's not a pitch count thing or anything," Showalter said. "The challenge is going to be the Yankees, and they'll let us know how he's pitching. We're excited about the possibility of getting him back."
Girardi weighed pitching two lefties in a row against giving Kuroda more days off and getting Pettitte on the mound sooner - he last pitched Sept. 29."We just felt that the extra rest would probably help him," Girardi said of Kuroda. "We don't want Andy to go too long without throwing, so it's kind of those two factors."
Showalter is leaning toward rookies Wei-Yin Chen in Game 2 and Miguel Gonzalez in Game 3 depending on the weather Sunday. If there's a rainout things could change, he said.
New York comes in as the favorite, but that means nothing to the Orioles. Getting a fine start from August addition Joe Saunders , Baltimore knocked off the two-time defending AL champs on Friday night in Texas."The Rangers were the consensus favorite to win the American League, and for us to come out of nowhere was pretty awesome," reliever Darren O'Day said. "We were picked to finish in the basement in the AL East. The only guys who believed in us were the guys in our clubhouse. We just kept playing."
And so, the Orioles will keep playing well into October."People thought we'd be making tee times right now," O'Day said.
NOTES: Yankees OF-DH Andruw Jones says he will not be on the roster for the division series. ... Showalter says INF Wilson Betemit (right wrist) took batting practice and felt good, and that he could be a factor when finalizing the roster.
|New York Yankees|
|September 19, 2012||Dellin Betances||60-Day DL||Right shoulder injury|
|September 09, 2012||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Strained left calf|
|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||15-Day DL||Right shoulder tightness|
|September 29, 2012||Oliver Drake||60-Day DL||Right shoulder tendinitis|
|September 23, 2012||Randy Wolf||60-Day DL||Torn UCL, left elbow - out for season|
|September 11, 2012||Jason Hammel||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee injury|
|September 09, 2012||Nick Markakis||Day-to-Day||Broken left thumb|
|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|
BALTIMORE (AP) -- The New York Yankees earned the AL East title by pulling away from the Baltimore Orioles in the final week of the regular season.
That scenario repeated itself in the first game of their AL playoff series, and now the Orioles are again forced to play catch up against their division rivals.
Russell Martin led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking home run off Jim Johnson , CC Sabathia turned in a sparkling pitching performance and the Yankees gained the upper hand with a 7-2 victory Sunday night.
For eight innings, the teams engaged in a tense duel that could have gone either way. Then came the ninth inning, when the Yankees scored five runs off Johnson, Baltimore's All-Star closer, to ruin the Orioles' first home playoff game since 1997.
"You always want to take the first one, but you go game by game," said New York's Robinson Cano , who contributed a two-run double in the ninth. "Enjoy this game and just go home get some sleep and be ready for (Game 2 on Monday)."
The Yankees have been to the playoffs in 17 of the last 18 years. This is Baltimore's first trip in 15 years, following 14 successive losing seasons.
"We stayed in as long as we could," Orioles right fielder Chris Davis said. "We're finding out what playoff baseball is all about."
Sabathia allowed two runs and eight hits, coming within an out of his first career complete game in the postseason. He was 0-2 in three starts against Baltimore during the regular season, but in this one the husky left-hander returned to form and improved his lifetime record against the Orioles to 17-4.
"Fastball command was good, worked off that," Sabathia said. "Throwing the ball pretty good, getting the corners. Tried to stay out there and make some pitches."
Sabathia is 6-1 with the Yankees in the postseason, 4-0 in the division series.
With the score 2-all, Martin drove a 2-0 pitch from Johnson into the left-field seats. It was the first of four straight hits off Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves. Raul Ibanez and Derek Jeter followed with singles, Ichiro Suzuki drove in a run with a swinging bunt and one out later, Cano hit a two-run double.
In his seven prior appearances against New York, Johnson allowed one run in seven innings and had three saves. Nick Swisher capped the five-run ninth with a sacrifice fly off Tommy Hunter .
"I made mistakes," Johnson said. "I obviously paid for those, and that was location. It wasn't anything else. Two fastballs that really cost us. Just have to make a better pitch. That's all it comes down to."
The Orioles were left disappointed, but manager Buck Showalter was confident his team would be in bounce-back mode Monday.
"This is a very realistic club that lives in reality, but they also understand the sense of urgency," he said. "You can sit here and say you got beat by a quality pitcher, but that's why teams like that are playing this time of year. We have good, quality pitchers, too. I don't have any doubt what type of mentality our guys will have as we go forward in this series."
The start of the game was delayed by rain for 2 hours, 26 minutes, and that did nothing to lessen the enthusiasm of the 47,841 fans who waited so long for the Orioles to play a postseason game at Camden Yards.
"We're obviously disappointed we couldn't give them a win, but at least we're playing a five-game series instead of a shootout," Davis said.
Orioles starter Jason Hammel allowed two runs, four hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander underwent knee surgery in July and returned to pitch two games in September before his right knee began to bother him again. After working his way back into form, Hammel donned a knee brace and gave Baltimore a solid 112-pitch outing in his first start in nearly a month.
New York missed an excellent chance to take the lead in the seventh. After Troy Patton walked Martin and Ibanez, Darren O'Day entered and Jeter dropped down a perfect two-strike sacrifice bunt. With the infield drawn in, Suzuki hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Robert Andino , who threw home. Matt Wieters grabbed the ball on the short hop and tagged out Martin. O'Day then struck out Alex Rodriguez .
Neither team got a runner in scoring position again until J.J. Hardy started the Baltimore eighth with a double. He did not advance.
"Being able to get out of that with a tie and give us a chance to get up and score some runs, which we did, was just a big spot," Sabathia said.
Immediately after Orioles fans cheered and waved their orange towels following a first-pitch strike by Hammel to open the game, the Yankees went to work. Jeter hit a leadoff single and Suzuki followed with an RBI double into the gap in left-center. But Suzuki was thrown out trying to steal third, and Hammel settled down by striking out Rodriguez and retiring Cano on a broken-bat fly to right.
Sabathia retired the first six batters he faced without allowing a ball out of the infield, then ran into trouble in the third inning. Davis led off with a single, Lew Ford singled and both runners moved up on a bunt before Nate McLouth bounced a two-run single into right field for a 2-1 lead.
New York promptly tied it in the fourth, but another potential big inning was short-circuited when a runner was thrown out on the base paths. After Hammel walked two of the first three batters, Mark Teixeira ripped a liner off the right-field scoreboard. The hit brought home a run, but Teixeira - who only recently returned from a strained left calf - was thrown out at second by Davis. That left Swisher at third base with two outs, and after an intentional walk to Curtis Granderson , Martin hit a fly to center.
Singles by Davis and Andino put runners at the corners with one out in the fifth before McLouth looked at a third strike and Hardy grounded out.
NOTES: Andy Pettitte will bring 42 games of playoff experience into Game 2 as the starting pitcher for the Yankees. Orioles rookie Wei-Yin Chen will be making his postseason debut. ... Wieters went 0 for 4 against Sabathia and now is 5 for 28 (.179) lifetime against him. ... In 16 career division series openers, Jeter is batting .448 (26 for 58) and reached base in 15 games. ... Suzuki has at least one hit in 10 of his 11 career postseason games and has reached base in all of them. He's also hit in 20 straight games at Camden Yards, a streak that began in 2008.