NEW YORK (AP)—Johnny Damon(notes) forgot how many outs there were. Mark Teixeira(notes) couldn’t come up with a clutch hit. Manager Joe Girardi and Alex Rodriguez(notes) were ejected after the New York Yankees had another run-in with umpire Marty Foster.
Clearly without his best stuff, Sabathia (17-7) still managed to hold the Orioles to three runs and five hits in seven innings. The big left-hander improved to 9-1 with a 2.75 ERA in his last 12 starts, despite finishing with just one strikeout for the first time since June 21 at Florida.
“This was tough. I didn’t really have the command and stuff that I’ve had the past about a month and half,” Sabathia said. “I was just trying to do whatever I could to get outs and get the team back in the dugout.”
Melky Cabrera(notes) finished with four RBIs for New York, which totaled 20 hits after getting 19 in the first two games of the series combined. Derek Jeter(notes) went 3 for 5 and scored three times to give him 101 runs on the season, reaching the century mark for the 12th time.
“Obviously, it’s not good to go down two games straight and then not be able to come back again and make it three games straight,” Matsui said through a translator. “So in that sense, winning today’s game was pretty important for us.”
“A strange game,” Guthrie said. “I think I threw 20 pitches out of the windup the entire game. Always pitching in trouble, always pitching with men on.”
AL East-leading New York improved to 41-15 since the All-Star break—tops in the majors—but much of its latest win wasn’t pretty.
Damon, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with a stiff back, had a mental lapse that led to a Baltimore run. Teixeira had three at-bats with a runner on third and less than two outs, and failed to drive him in each time.
Girardi and Rodriguez were ejected after Baltimore batted in the fifth, leading to one of the manager’s most animated displays during his two years as New York’s skipper—and three different stories about what happened.
Rodriguez became upset after he struck out looking with the bases loaded to end the fourth on a pitch he said was a ball. He had a brief argument with Foster before taking his position in the field.
After Baltimore went down in order, the All-Star slugger looked at a replay of the pitch before returning to the dugout. He said he made a remark to Foster about his constant conversation with Orioles catcher Chad Moeller(notes) that also happened during his at-bat in the fourth.
“I just said, ‘Yeah, keep talking to him,’ and no warning, he just threw me out,” Rodriguez said.
Girardi, who said A-Rod was ejected after again telling Foster the pitch was outside, then bolted out of the dugout and had to be restrained, upset there was no warning issued before one of his biggest bats was sent to the clubhouse.
Foster described Rodriguez’s fifth career ejection and first since July 24, 2004, as a running conversation that started after his at-bat in the fourth.
“I let him go, I let him go, but there has to be an end of it,” he said. “I can’t let him argue with me all day.”
It was Girardi’s fourth ejection of the season and first since Foster kicked him out on July 6 for arguing Jeter was safe at third on an attempted steal against Toronto. Jeter insisted afterward that Foster told him he didn’t have to be tagged to be out.
Baltimore got off to a fast start behind Justin Turner(notes), inserted at third base after Melvin Mora(notes) was scratched with a sore right elbow. Turner picked up his first career RBI with a fielder’s choice in the second and made a heady play on the basepaths to take advantage of Damon’s miscue in the fourth.
Turner was on second when Jeff Fiorentino(notes) lofted a fly ball to left with one out. Damon was fighting the sun as he caught the ball and, thinking the inning was over, turned to the stands to throw it to a fan.
Turner tagged up and was rounding third when Damon frantically threw the ball to shortstop Jeter, who made a late relay to the plate as the rookie scored to give Baltimore a 3-1 lead.
“It’s one of those embarrassing things that you just hope doesn’t happen again,” Damon said. “It’s happened to me a few too many times playing this game, but I’m just glad we won.”
New York tied it in the fourth when Cabrera looped an 0-2 pitch from Guthrie into center for a two-run single.
“You give that lineup over there any small chance and they’re going to pounce on you,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.
NOTES: Girardi hinted before the game he could adjust his rotation in the next couple of days. … Trembley said CF Felix Pie(notes), who left Friday’s 10-4 victory over New York with back spasms, was feeling better and could take some swings Monday.