Yankees 4, Orioles 3
NEW YORK (AP)—Drained by a difficult week, the New York Yankees needed an uplifting victory.
That’s exactly what they got Sunday.
“These are the games you have to know how to win,” Jeter said.
Especially when the previous five days produced nothing but turmoil. New York’s 22-0 loss to Cleveland last Tuesday was the worst in franchise history. Then starter Kevin Brown broke his non-pitching hand when he punched a clubhouse wall in frustration Friday night.
That’s no way to settle into a September pennant race. Leave it to Jeter to turn things around.
“In the time I’ve been here, the nine years, he’s been the guy who’s made this club go,” manager Joe Torre said.
Jeter reached base four times and scored three runs for the Yankees, who earned their major league-leading 53rd comeback win. Bernie Williams had his first sacrifice bunt since April 25, 1996, moving Jeter to third in the ninth.
Rafael Palmeiro hit a three-run homer in the first inning for the Orioles, who were looking for their first three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium since June 6-8, 1986. Instead, they had their six-game winning streak snapped.
Javier Vazquez had an encouraging start for the Yankees, who maintained their 2 1/2 -game lead over Boston in the AL East. Mariano Rivera (4-1), who gave up four runs and got only one out Saturday, pitched out of a first-and-third, none-out jam in the ninth for the win.
“Mo is the same demeanor whether things are going good or bad. He’s probably one of the most confident people I’ve ever played with,” Jeter said.
Jorge Julio (2-3), who struck out three All-Stars in a row for a save Friday night, walked Jeter leading off the ninth. He went to second on a wild pitch before Williams sacrificed.
“Not even close,” catcher Javy Lopez said.
The Yankees turned a sparkling double play to preserve a 3-all tie in the seventh. Vazquez grabbed David Newhan’s one-out comebacker with his bare hand and trapped Larry Bigbie off second base. He was tagged out in a rundown by Jeter, who wheeled and threw out a sliding Newhan at second to end the inning.
“It was just basically instinct,” Vazquez said. “It was huge for us.”
Vazquez lasted only 1 1-3 innings in the record-setting loss to the Indians. He is 0-2 in his last four starts, but he recovered from a shaky first inning Sunday.
The right-hander gave up a walk and a single before Palmeiro sent a three-run drive just over the short porch in right field for his 544th career homer—and second in two days.
Helped by two double plays, Vazquez settled down from there and pitched out of trouble a few times. He struck out eight in seven innings, allowing six hits and three walks.
“He made adjustments. Down in the count, he threw the changeup,” Baltimore’s Melvin Mora said. “Just one mistake. He was able to hold it right there and they came back.”
Vazquez hit Palmeiro with a pitch his next time up, and both benches were warned. The slugger strangely pulled his bottom hand off the bat and extended his arm straight down to protect his thigh. The ball left a large welt just above Palmeiro’s right wrist.
After the Yankees were outscored 10-1 the previous two games, Torre moved Jeter into the leadoff spot, hoping to kick-start the offense.
That’s just what Jeter did. He doubled leading off the game for New York, which advanced only one runner past first base in its previous 17 innings and managed just two singles Saturday against Sidney Ponson. Jeter then stole third and scored on a throwing error by Lopez.
“That sort of made a statement for us, to us, not necessarily to them, but it was very important considering how necessary it was for us to win this game,” Torre said.
Jeter singled to open the third and scored on Sheffield’s sacrifice fly.
“I’ve said year in and year out, if we don’t score it’s because I’m not getting on base,” Jeter said. “We have all these guys who can drive in runs, but a lot of the time, I’m the guy they’re driving in.”
Making his third major league start of the season, Baltimore’s Bruce Chen got little help from his defense. He allowed three runs—one earned—and six hits in 4 2-3 innings.
The start time for the first game of New York’s doubleheader Monday against Tampa Bay was moved from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. because the Devil Rays couldn’t fly out of Florida on Sunday due to Hurricane Frances. … Brown had successful surgery on his broken left hand and vowed to pitch again for the Yankees this season. … Jeter has 200 career stolen bases and 22 this season, including 11-for-11 on steals of third. … Orioles SS Miguel Tejada saved a run with a diving catch of Jeter’s liner in the fourth.