In a three-game series, reduced to two due to a rainout, for first place, the New York Yankees took game one Wednesday by a score of 7-4. Both teams were coming off of hitting slumps, so this was a game expected to be over quickly.
The Yankees bats came alive in the first when the first three Yankee hitters, Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira, all reached base with infield singles. Gardner was thrown out by steadily improving Orioles Catcher Matt Wieters on a steal attempt, but no outs yet credited to Pitcher Chris Tillman. Tillman hung a high cutter up for Alex Rodriguez who hit a three-run homer that electrified the crowd of 45,000 at Yankee Stadium.
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The second inning would be more of the same, as Tillman did not have his best mechanics on the night. A double by catcher Russell Martin, followed by an infield hit by Jeter, put New York up 4-0. A single by Teixeira and a walk to A-Rod loaded the bases. Next batter, Robinson Cano knocked in two more with a double, increasing the Yankees lead to 6-0 and ending Tillman’s night after just 1.2 innings.
O’s new pitcher, Chris Jakubauskas, got the birds out of the inning and pitched three more innings of strong relief, calming down the Yankee bats.
The big performance of the night was A.J. Burnett, whose curve shut down the Baltimore lineup for six innings. The O’s baserunners reached third several times but were stranded.
The birds battled back in the seventh with with a pair of two-run shots by Wieters and Brian Roberts to close the gap to 7-4. But the Yankees bullpen was rock solid with Soriano setting up in the eighth for the AL saves leader Mariano Rivera, who retired the Orioles one-two-three in the ninth.
With the win, the Bronx Bombers are now tied for first place in the AL East.