The New York Yankees avoided an embarrassing end to their 13-game homestand Sunday.
Now, they’ll look to make up some ground in the American League East as they open a three-game series with the struggling Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
The Yankees beat the New York Mets 5-4 on Sunday, preventing their crosstown rivals from pulling off their first-ever sweep at Yankee Stadium. Jason Giambi hit a game-winning two-run single in the ninth for the Yankees, who were outscored 16-7 in the first two games of the series.
Alex Rodriguez went 4-for-5 with an RBI and Derek Jeter singled in a run for the Yankees, who allowed three unearned runs to score in the seventh inning. New York improved to 2-35 when trailing after eight innings and moved within four games of the second-place Orioles in the division. Baltimore also currently leads the AL wild card race.
“Thank God, we needed this win big-time,” Giambi said.
The Yankees won the first six games of their homestand, sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs. However, they dropped three of four against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays before the Subway Series.
Before Sunday’s game, team owner George Steinbrenner issued a statement through spokesman Howard Rubenstein, saying: “It’s in (manager) Joe Torre’s lap. It’s up to him.”
The Yankees will send Carl Pavano to the mound in the series opener. Pavano lost his fourth straight decision Wednesday, allowing five runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-3 defeat to Tampa Bay.
“Poor execution,” Pavano said. “I haven’t put together consistently good outings.”
The 29-year-old right-hander has allowed 11 earned runs in 12 innings in his last two starts, and has not won in six starts since May 22. He gave up two homers Wednesday and has allowed 16 this season, matching his total last season with Florida.
Pavano has also allowed 120 hits, second-most in the American League.
The Orioles extended their season-high losing streak to five games Sunday, falling 8-1 to Atlanta. Rafael Palmeiro plated Baltimore’s only run on a fifth-inning homer, the 562nd of his career.
Palmeiro is just one homer shy of Reggie Jackson for ninth on the all-time list.
The Orioles were knocked out of first place in the AL East for the first time since April 23 after their 7-5 loss to the Braves on Friday.