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Behind three early homers, Orioles sweep Yanks

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- There was electricity in the air at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Sunday night.

A national television audience tuned in as the Baltimore Orioles tried to complete a sweep of the rival New York Yankees, and the game felt a whole lot like more a postseason matchup rather than a midseason contest.

The Orioles then sent their fans home happy. Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Nate McLouth hit solo homers in the first three innings, and Baltimore sealed the series sweep with a 4-2 victory.

Afterward, Baltimore players said they certainly noticed the feel of the night, helped the noise from the crowd of 40,878.

"Even before the game, when we were out there getting ready, you could kind of feel the buzz in the stadium," Davis said. "It did kind of have that playoff feel, close game. The fans were obviously in it. It was a fun atmosphere to play in."

Brian Roberts may have enjoyed the atmosphere and the evening more than most. He returned after missing nearly three months due to hamstring problems, and he played his first game at Camden Yards since July 1, 2012, after battling injuries the last few seasons.

The smile on his face showed how Roberts felt after going 1-for-2 with a key sacrifice fly.

"If you are going to be out there, you want to contribute," the veteran second baseman said. "You don't want to be the weak link in the chain, and there are some pretty strong links in this chain, and it is fun to be a part of. And obviously the atmosphere tonight, our city has fully embraced this team again and this organization, and it's great to be a part of."

Home runs again carried Orioles (47-36) as they completed their first series sweep this season. Baltimore leads the majors with 115 homers in 83 games.

The Orioles stretched their winning streak to four games, while the Yankees lost their fifth in a row.

Machado (3-for-4) homered in the first, and Davis gave the Orioles the lead for good with his shot in the second. McLouth added another home run in the third, all off New York starter Hiroki Kuroda (7-6).

Kuroda pitched six-plus innings, retiring 11 of 12 batters in the middle innings, but the early home runs proved too much for the injury-riddled Yankees lineup to overcome.

"Kuroda, guys like him and CC (Sabathia), you'd better do your damage early because they're going to find their stuff at some point and it's going to be tough," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Orioles starter Chris Tillman (10-2) went six innings for his seventh straight win. Tillman gave up two runs on five hits. He walked in a run in the second and gave up a solo homer to Robinson Cano in the sixth that cut Baltimore's lead to 3-2.

Darren O'Day escaped a seventh-inning jam for the Orioles before Baltimore pushed across an insurance run in the bottom half on Roberts' sacrifice fly off Boone Logan.

Troy Patton and Tommy Hunter combined to take care of the eighth for the Orioles before Jim Johnson closed it despite hitting a batter and giving up a double. Johnson earned his 28th save of the season and the 100th of his career.

The Orioles took an early 1-0 lead when Machado hit a solo homer off Kuroda. Machado, who hadn't homered since May 5, sent a 2-1 pitch into the left field seats.

New York tied it in the second. Zoilo Almonte led off with a single and went to third on Chris Stewart's two-out single. Tillman then walked David Adams to load the bases and walked Brett Gardner to force in the tying run.

Davis put the Orioles in front a few minutes later. He crushed a 2-1 pitch from Kuroda into the seats in left to give Baltimore a 2-1 lead. That was his 31st homer this season, a team record for homers before the All-Star break.

McLouth had a big third inning to help the Orioles. First, the left fielder threw out Travis Hafner trying to stretch a single into a double in the top of the inning. Then, he hit a solo homer in the bottom half to make it 3-1.

"We didn't have a lot of chances," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "They're a good team. We knew that coming in. They have a lot of offensive power."

NOTES: The Orioles reinstated Roberts from the 60-day disabled list before the game and designated RHP Jair Jurrjens for assignment. Roberts injured his hamstring in the season's third game, later had surgery and had been out since. Jurrjens was recalled Saturday, and he pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief that day in his second big-league appearance of the year. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Davis is the first player in history to amass 30 homers and 25 doubles by the end of June. ... Stewart, the Yankees' catcher, was shaken up when he got hit by the bat on an Adam Jones backswing in the first inning. Stewart was down for a few moments but recovered and stayed in the game. ... Kuroda had never allowed more than two homers in a game before Sunday.
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