CC Sabathia closed out the Orioles last year, and he'll be on the mound for New York when these rivals meet for the first time since the postseason Friday night in the opener of a weekend series at Yankee Stadium.
New York (4-4) took the division crown by two games over Baltimore after these teams were tied with three left.
The Orioles (5-4) trailed the Yankees by as many as 10 games before roaring back to create a final month of drama that was surpassed by New York's five-game division series victory over Baltimore.
The clubs split the first two games at Camden Yards before the Yankees took Game 3 in 12 innings, and the Orioles responded with a 13-inning victory the next night. That set the stage for Sabathia's four-hitter as he struck out nine in New York's 3-1 victory in Game 5.
Sabathia (1-1, 3.00 ERA) will try to help New York post a fourth straight victory. He was outstanding Sunday while outdueling Justin Verlander , allowing four hits over seven innings in a 7-0 victory at Detroit.
The left-hander went 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA in three 2012 regular-season outings against the Orioles before going 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 17 2-3 innings in two games during the division series.
J.J. Hardy had a team-high seven hits in 18 at-bats against Sabathia last year.
Sabathia is 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA in six career starts at Yankee Stadium against Baltimore, including the division series clincher.
The Yankees have had two unscheduled days off after the final two games of a four-game set in Cleveland were rained out. Robinson Cano went 7 for 10 with three homers and seven RBIs in the first two games.
The Orioles will arrive with a red-hot Adam Jones . The center fielder delivered the tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh inning of Thursday's 3-2 win at Boston, and he's hit safely in every game this season while going 18 for 39 (.462) with 10 RBIs and 11 runs scored.
"I'm not trying to do too much," said Jones, who was 2 for 23 in last year's division series. "I'm just trying to get the big hit when the team calls upon me and my number is called."
Chris Davis has cooled off, going 3 for 15 over his last five games with solo homers in the last two. He went 9 for 15 with four homers and 16 RBIs in Baltimore's 3-1 start.
The Orioles won two of three in all three regular-season series at New York last year after losing 25 of 31 in the Bronx prior to 2012.
Miguel Gonzalez (1-0, 2.84) will start for Baltimore after allowing two runs over 6 1-3 innings last Thursday in a 6-3 victory at Tampa Bay in his season debut.
Gonzalez faced the Yankees three times as a rookie in 2012, all in the Bronx. He went 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in the regular-season outings before yielding one run over seven innings in Game 3.
Cano is 0 for 9 with no walks against Gonzalez overall.
|April 07, 2013||Nolan Reimold||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring tightness|
|April 05, 2013||Brian Roberts||15-Day DL||Ruptured tendon, right knee|
|April 04, 2013||Brian Roberts||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring injury|
|March 26, 2013||Wilson Betemit||15-Day DL||Right PCL tear|
|March 23, 2013||Steve Johnson||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|March 22, 2013||Tsuyoshi Wada||60-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|New York Yankees|
|March 26, 2013||Cesar Cabral||60-Day DL||Left elbow pain|
|March 22, 2013||Curtis Granderson||15-Day DL||Fractured right forearm|
|March 22, 2013||Phil Hughes||15-Day DL||Right upper back thoracic injury|
|March 22, 2013||Mark Teixeira||15-Day DL||Strained right wrist - out 8-10 weeks|
|March 22, 2013||Derek Jeter||15-Day DL||Recovery from left ankle surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Phil Hughes||15-Day DL||Right upper back thoracic injury|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Robinson Cano jumped up after applying the tag that completed a triple play and thrust his arms above his head. Kevin Youkilis grinned broadly and slapped as many hands as he could. Jayson Nix and Lyle Overbay high-fiving each other, too.
The New York Yankees ' makeshift infield was having triple the fun Friday night.
The Yankees turned a triple play at home for the first time in 45 years, Adam Jones dropped Vernon Wells ' fly ball while blowing a bubble for a tiebreaking three-run error and New York beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 Friday night for its fourth straight win.
"That's like being a kid again," Youkilis said. "That's one of the coolest things I've ever had on the field. You don't see one written up like that. It was special. This game we play, it's one of these games where it's a job and it's a grind at times. But when stuff like that happens, you feel like you're back playing little league again."
Baltimore started the eighth with two singles off CC Sabathia (2-1), and Manny Machado hit a sharp low liner that Cano caught on a short hop near second base.
Cano tossed the ball to Nix, who replaced injured shortstop Eduardo Nunez in the third inning, for the forceout at second. Alexi Casilla , thinking the ball was going to be caught by Cano, got trapped in a rundown between second and third base.
Thinking triple play, Youkilis tagged Casillas and made a quick throw to first baseman Lyle Overbay when Machado ranged too far off the bag. Overbay then made an awkward throw to Cano, who tagged Machado, setting off a happy celebration.
Overbay, signed in late March to help fill in for injured first baseman Mark Teixeira , was worried his throw to Cano was going to spoil the play that was scored 4-6-5-6-5-3-4.
"Good thing he's got good hand-eye coordination," Overbay said.
Teixeira saw the team's hand specialist earlier Friday and was told he is not ready to start swinging a bat and needs to strengthen his injured wrist. But Teixeira said this is not a setback and should be on target for a return near May 1.
The five-time Gold Glover was impressed with his teammates.
"That was awesome," Teixeira said. "That's one of the toughest triple plays you'll ever see."
The Yankees, who moved over .500 for the first time this year, had last turned a triple play on April 22, 2010, at Oakland - with Sabathia on the mound. They hadn't accomplished the feat in the Bronx since June 3, 1968, against Minnesota.
With the score 2-all in the seventh, the Yankees had loaded the bases on two walks - one intentional - and a hit batter. Wells hit a long fly ball that Jones - a Gold Glove center fielder - ranged back for. On the warning track, Jones turned, raised his glove and blew a pink bubble. He closed his glove a bit early, and the ball bounced away as the bases cleared.
"Just missed it," Jones said. "You could say it's rain. You could say it's cold. You could say anything, wind, you could say whatever you want. I was there. Didn't catch it. Cost my team the game."
In the first meeting between the teams since the Yankees eliminated the Orioles in Game 5 of the division series, Sabathia allowed two runs - one earned - and eight hits with nine strikeouts and no walks. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his second save.
Youkilis had three hits and an RBI but made an error at third base that led to the tying run in the seventh inning. Youkilis has hit in all nine games he's played with the Yankees.
"Made an aggressive mistake," Youkilis said. "You just don't want to give away outs."
Baltimore tied it 2-all when Matt Wieters reached on Youkilis' misplay and advanced on Sabathia's balk. J.J. Hardy followed with an RBI single.
Already hampered by several key injuries, the Yankees pushed back Andy Pettitte 's scheduled start Sunday in the finale of this three-game series to Tuesday or Wednesday because of back spasms. Phil Hughes , whose scheduled start Thursday was postponed by rain, will get the ball Saturday and Hiroki Kuroda will move back one day to Sunday.
Too make matters worse for New York, Nunez, filling in at shortstop for injured captain Derek Jeter , was hit on his right wrist by a pitch from Miguel Gonzalez (1-1) and left after attempting a warmup throw before the third inning.
X-rays were negative.
Gonzalez dropped No. 9 hitter Francisco Cervelli to the dirt in the fifth with a pitch that came close to the catcher's head, and the right-hander was booed relentlessly by what remained of the 35,033 fans that withstood the blustery 35-degree wind chill.
Cervelli ended up walking and coming around to score - clapping his hands - on Cano's RBI single to left-center, his eighth RBI in three games.
"Miguel, I don't think he felt the baseball. He didn't really have a feel for his curveball most of the game," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It was frustrating for him, but CC had a good outing, did a lot of things he's been doing for a long time. He's a pitcher. Miguel gave us a chance to win the game. We were fortunate not to give up more damage than we did."
NOTES: Gonzalez walked five. ... Jeter (ankle surgery) took batting practice on the field and grounders at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa, Fla. He did a few slower-speed spin moves on balls up the middle. ... The Orioles claimed RHP Alex Burnett off waivers from Toronto and optioned him to Triple-A Rochester. To make room on the 40-man roster, they transferred INF Wilson Betemit (torn right knee ligament) from the 15- to the 60-day DL. ... Orioles RHP Steve Johnson (lat strain) and LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (elbow surgery) are to throw in extended spring training Saturday. ... Youkilis' hitting streak is the longest to start a season for a player in his Yankees debut since Joe Buzzas had hits in the first 10 games of 1945, according to information provided by the Yankees from the Elias Sports Bureau.