New York (93-68) will make its 13th straight postseason appearance starting Thursday when it opens an AL division series at Central champion Cleveland. The Yankees’ last playoff appearance as a wild card came in 1997 when they lost to the Indians in five games in the first round.
Baseball’s highest-scoring team didn’t miss a beat as it pounded out 14 hits, including eight in a 10-run fourth inning. Every starter scored at least one run for New York, which has scored 958 for the year.
Sean Henn (2-2, 7.49 ERA) will make his first start of the season for the Yankees after making 28 relief appearances this year.
Henn is 0-4 with a 10.20 ERA in four career starts, and hasn’t pitched past the fifth inning in any of them. His last start came on Sept. 20, 2006 against Toronto.
He will be limited to about 75 pitches, and said the starting assignment came as a surprise.
“It kind of caught me off guard,” Henn told the Yankees’ official Web site. “I always loved starting. (Torre) said for me to really just go out and throw, and not worry about results. I can just relax and set the tempo, I guess you could say. I’m definitely excited about it. It’ll be fun.”
The right-hander has never started against the Orioles, but enters with a nine-inning scoreless streak against them in four appearances. Henn has yielded three hits over 5 1-3 innings against Baltimore in 2007.
Baltimore (69-92) fell to 9-8 against New York this year with Saturday’s loss. The Orioles are trying to win the season series from the Yankees for the first time since 1997, and can match last season’s total of 70 wins.
Brian Burres (6-7, 5.66) looks to end his season on a positive note after a dismal start his last time out. Burres was pounded for seven runs over 3 1-3 innings in an 11-4 loss to Toronto on Tuesday.
“I just threw a lot of good balls to hit,” he told the Orioles’ official Web site. “They hit some balls hard at people. I was just trying to throw strikes and have them hit the ball at some more people later. You can’t really rely on that for too long.”
The left-hander has pitched well against the Yankees this year, going 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA in two outings.