The New York Yankees could own a share of the AL's second wild-card spot after Thursday night's action.
The Baltimore Orioles are hoping they will be back in front of New York.
These AL East rivals met for the final time this year to close out a four-game series at Camden Yards, with 13-game loser Phil Hughes making his return to the rotation for the Yankees.
Baltimore (77-68) moved 1 1/2 games ahead of New York with a 4-2 victory in Monday's opener before the Yankees responded with wins by 7-5 and 5-4 the next two nights.
New York (78-68) has pulled within one game of Tampa Bay for the AL's second wild card. Baltimore and Cleveland trail the Rays by 1 1/2 games, with Kansas City two games back.
The season series is tied at nine wins apiece."We play this team so evenly, it's unbelievable," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
This series featured a confrontation between the teams' managers in the opener. Baltimore skipper Buck Showalter is hopeful his team will avoid its first three-game slide since losing four straight Aug. 12-16.
"Tonight was a tough night for us, like last night, but these guys will turn the page and compete their rears off (Thursday)," Showalter said. "Anybody that would want to close the door on us would be making a mistake."
Girardi has opted to turn back to Hughes (4-13, 5.11), who was removed in favor of David Huff for last Saturday's 13-9 loss to Boston. Huff gave up nine runs over 3 1-3 innings.
Hughes is 0-6 with a 5.48 ERA in 10 starts since beating Minnesota on July 2.
"I'm not really worried about redemption or proving anybody wrong or stuff like that," Hughes told the Yankees' official website. "I'm just trying to throw as many quality innings as I can."
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 7.00 ERA in two starts against the Orioles this year, and 2-2 with a 6.16 ERA in his last six outings at Baltimore.
Danny Valencia , who has a double in six at-bats against Hughes, went 4 for 4 on Wednesday and has 22 hits in his last 39 at-bats.
The Orioles will start left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 3.82), who is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two outings against New York this year and 1-3 with a 5.29 mark in six in his career.
Shortstop Brendan Ryan is hitless in six at-bats off Chen and went 0 for 4 on Wednesday in his Yankees debut after being acquired from Seattle to replace Derek Jeter , out for the season with an injured left ankle.
|New York Yankees|
|September 08, 2013||Derek Jeter||15-Day DL||Left ankle soreness|
|September 08, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left game - left foot contusion|
|September 07, 2013||Vidal Nuno||60-Day DL||Strained left groin|
|September 07, 2013||Derek Jeter||Day-to-Day||Left ankle|
|September 06, 2013||Corban Joseph||60-Day DL||Recovery from right shoulder surgery|
|August 22, 2013||Jayson Nix||60-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
|August 31, 2013||Eric Beaulac||60-Day DL||Torn labrum, right hip|
|August 28, 2013||Steve Pearce||15-Day DL||Left wrist inflammation|
|August 16, 2013||Francisco Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Strained right groin|
|July 29, 2013||Jason Hammel||15-Day DL||Right forearm tenderness|
|July 29, 2013||Jason Hammel||15-Day DL||Right forearm tenderness|
|July 14, 2013||Nolan Reimold||60-Day DL||Nerve inflammation in cervical spine|
BALTIMORE (AP) -- The injuries keep mounting for the New York Yankees .
So do the victories.
Brendan Ryan scored the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning on a wild pitch by Jim Johnson , and New York defeated the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 Thursday night after blowing a four-run lead.
Mark Reynolds and Curtis Granderson homered for the Yankees, who remained one game behind Tampa Bay for the second AL wild card. After taking three of four from Baltimore, New York travels next to first-place Boston for a weekend series between division rivals.
"It's important," manager Joe Girardi said. "We need to continue to win and we need to continue to take series if we want to play in October."
The Yankees (79-68) moved within one game of their high-water mark for the season, 12 games over .500, which last occurred in May. But the victory was marred by another injury, this one to leadoff hitter Brett Gardner , who left in the first inning with a strained muscle on his left side.
"I've never had an oblique issue before," Gardner said. "The best thing to do is just wait until (Friday) and see what the MRI says. That'll paint a much clearer picture."
New York led 5-1 before Nick Markakis hit a solo shot in the seventh and Danny Valencia homered with two on against David Robertson in the eighth.
But the Yankees bounced right back in the ninth with an unearned run against Johnson (3-8). Ryan, obtained in a trade with Seattle on Tuesday, led off with a single. Chris Stewart bunted, and Johnson threw wildly into center field for an error that left two on.
"The ball slipped, and that kind of started the whole inning," Johnson said.
After another bunt put the runners at second and third, Johnson uncorked a pitch that didn't reach the plate and bounced to the backstop.
Mariano Rivera (6-2) got straight three outs in the bottom half and was given credit for the win by the official scorer because Robertson was ineffective in the eighth.
The start was delayed by rain for 1 hour, 18 minutes.
After defeating New York in the opener of the four-game series Monday night, the Orioles needed to win only one of the next three to capture the season series for the first time since 1997. Instead, the Yankees emerged with a 10-9 edge in 2013.
Baltimore trails New York and Cleveland in the wild-card chase and fell into a tie with idle Kansas City, 2 1/2 games behind the Rays. The Orioles begin their final road trip of the season - to Toronto, Boston and Tampa Bay - on Friday.
"We've just got to start rattling off some wins," first baseman Chris Davis said. "This is definitely going to be a big road trip."
Reynolds put the Yankees up 2-0 in the second with a drive to left after Eduardo Nunez hit a leadoff single. It was Reynolds' fourth homer in 22 games since joining New York in mid-August.
Sixty of Reynolds' 200 career home runs came with the Orioles, from 2011-12.
Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen allowed eight of his first 14 batters to reach base. In the third, after Alfonso Soriano sandwiched a double between two walks, Vernon Wells delivered a two-run single.
In the bottom half, Baltimore used an RBI single by Manny Machado to close to 4-1.
Granderson, who replaced Gardner in center field, chased Chen with his second homer in two games and New York's 10th in the four-game series.
Markakis homered off David Huff in the bottom half. Huff was originally supposed to start the game, but Girardi figured the left-hander would be more comfortable coming out of the bullpen. Phil Hughes started and left in the fourth.
In the Orioles eighth, Soriano made a leaping grab at the left-field wall to rob Machado of a home run and keep New York's lead at 5-2. But with two outs, Adam Jones and Markakis singled before Valencia ripped Robertson's first pitch over the left-field wall.
NOTES: The Orioles will be without reliever Darren O'Day during the weekend series in Toronto that begins Friday. O'Day has been dealing with soreness in his fingers and has pitched only twice this month. ... Jason Hammel will start Friday night for Baltimore. He replaces Bud Norris , who has been experiencing elbow discomfort. ... The Orioles honored Rivera before his final game at Camden Yards. The 43-year-old closer received a gift and a standing ovation. Rivera, meanwhile, has donated the baseball he used to record his major league-record 602nd save to the Police Athletic League for auction. ... New York hopes to have C Austin Romine (concussion) back during the weekend series in Boston. "Headache's gone. Neck's not sore," said Romine, who sustained the injury Tuesday night. ... Baltimore has won a season series from New York only once since 1982.