Yankees 9, Orioles 6

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BALTIMORE (AP)—Career win No. 280 for Randy Johnson wasn’t one of those gems that serve as a testament to his greatness. Rather, it was a victory that speaks volumes about the perseverance of the New York Yankees and the inability of Fernando Tatis to play left field.

Robinson Cano doubled in three runs with a seventh-inning line drive over a stumbling Tatis, giving the Yankees the lead for good Monday night in a 9-6 comeback victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Derek Jeter went 2-for-5 to extend his career-best hitting streak to 21 games and help the Yankees stretch their lead in the AL East over Boston to a season-high 10 1/2 games. New York, which won three of four from the Orioles, lowered its magic number to 10 for its ninth straight division title and moved 30 games over .500 (86-56) for the first time since 2004.

Johnson (17-10) won his third straight start, allowing five runs and nine hits in six innings. When he walked off the mound for the last time, New York trailed 5-2.

But the Yankees sent 10 men to the plate in a six-run seventh, the key blow a liner by Cano that probably should been caught.

After a sacrifice fly by Bobby Abreu and an RBI single by Alex Rodriguez brought New York to 5-4, Baltimore rookie James Hoey (0-1) loaded the bases when he hit Jorge Posada with a pitch. That brought up Cano, who hit a rising liner to left at Tatis, an infielder by trade.

Tatis turned one way, then another before falling in a heap as the ball soared over his glove. Bernie Williams followed with an RBI single for an 8-5 lead.

That made a winner out of Johnson, who is 6-1 in his last seven starts.

“It’s not the way I drew it up, but along the way there have been games like this where you’ve won, and then there have been some real good pitched games that you’ve lost, so they say everything evens out,” he said. “It was just a game where I realize, from an individual standpoint, I’m very fortunate the offense picked me up.”

Hoey gave up six runs and four hits, walking one and hitting two batters in 2-3 innings.

“The hardest ball hit off him should have been caught,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo lamented. “If (Tatis) makes that play, we’re out of the inning. That pretty much told the story.”

With his 1,068th win with the Yankees, New York manager Joe Torre moved past Miller Huggins for third place on team’s all-time list, trailing only Joe McCarthy (1,460) and Casey Stengel (1,149).

“Anytime you’re in the company of Stengel and McCarthy and Huggins it’s pretty special territory,” Torre said. “When you think of Babe Ruth, you always think of Miller Huggins, so that’s a pretty good era to be compared to.”

New York’s comeback ruined a fine performance by Orioles starter Rodrigo Lopez, who pitched six gritty innings as an emergency replacement for Kris Benson, who was scratched with strep throat.

Lopez, who pitched two innings of relief on Saturday, gave up two runs and five hits in six innings, striking out five and walking three.

“He did plenty good enough,” Perlozzo said. “He did his job better than we thought he was going to.”

Ramon Hernandez hit his 19th homer for the Orioles, the third in two games, to make it 8-6 in the eighth. But Baltimore, which got a season-high three hits from Chris Gomez, could get no closer.

After Rodriguez hit his 32nd homer off Chris Ray in the ninth, Kyle Farnsworth got three outs for his fourth save.

The loss dropped the Orioles a season-high 19 games under .500 (62-81) and assured them a ninth straight season without a winning record.

Baltimore took a 4-2 lead with a three-run fifth. Gomez singled and David Newhan was hit by a pitch, and both advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Brian Roberts. Melvin Mora followed with a two-run single, Nick Markakis singled and Miguel Tejada capped the uprising with a sacrifice fly.

Doubles by Kevin Millar and Gomez made it 5-2 in the sixth, but the lead wouldn’t last.

The Yankees wasted successive singles by Johnny Damon and Jeter in the first inning, then took a 2-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Melky Cabrera and a run-scoring grounder by Damon.

Baltimore got a run back in the third when Tatis hit a triple and scored when the relay throw from Cano at second base skipped past third and into foul territory.

Notes

Bill Spade, a New York firefighter who performed a rescue operation at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … The scoreboard at Camden Yards listed Rodriguez as a shortstop during his first at-bat. He moved to 3B in 2004. … NY OF Hideki Matsui, who has been on the DL since May 12 with a fractured left wrist, will be activated Tuesday and may start at DH vs. Tampa Bay, Torre said.

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