Robinson Cano's grand slam capped the Yankees' seven-run third inning to fuel their 12-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. The victory salvaged the final game of the three-game series. The Yankees halted a four-game losing streak and pushed their American League East division lead over the Orioles to 6 1/2 games. Along with the victory, the Yankees welcomed back Joba Chamberlain, who pitched for the first time since June 5 of last season, after completing his rehab from Tommy John surgery and a dislocated ankle. A day after Baltimore used its own seven-run inning to stun the Yankees and add heat to the series finale, New York busted out with 11 runs in the first three innings and coasted to its 61st win of the season. "We don't like losing around here, man," said Nick Swisher, who had two hits and a RBI. "... Four games in a row. Joke's over. Enough's enough." Curtis Granderson also homered for the Yankees, who pounded out 15 hits and received multiple-hit games from five players. Derek Jeter and Jayson Nix had three hits apiece. The Yankees again tormented Orioles starter Zach Britton (1-1), who gave up seven runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings, raising his ERA to 8.35. For his career, Britton has allowed 20 runs (17 earned) in eight innings at Yankee Stadium. "Is he regressing? No, he's had a real good start," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Where we are and knowing what Zach needs to bring, he'll figure it out at some point in his career as a pitcher. We feel confident about that, but it's just not happening right now." J.J. Hardy had three hits, including a homer, for the Orioles. But Baltimore went 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position as it ended its three-game winning streak. Phil Hughes (11-8) gave the Orioles plenty of chances, but routinely pitched out of trouble. He also didn't have much time to feel a threat, as the Yankees, playing without injured sluggers Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, built an 11-1 lead after three innings. Hughes allowed nine hits, but just one run in six innings, as Baltimore stranded 11 base runners. He was followed by Chamberlain, who allowed two runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings in his first appearance in 14 months. Manager Joe Girardi praised Chamberlain for not overthrowing on a day he knew was likely filled with emotions. The pitcher, who prompted standing ovations as he entered and exited, said that had been a definite goal. "Obviously, that wasn't the result I wanted, but I have to look at the picture as a whole," said Chamberlain, who was greeted by Hardy's 15th homer of the season. "You have to take a minute to embrace the fact that there are so many people who cared and followed my journey back." Ichiro Suzuki also earned loud cheers, making a leaping catch against the wall in the sixth inning, in his first regular-season game at that position. Ichiro had played there just once before in his career, in the 2001 postseason for Seattle Mariners manager Lou Piniella. Asked how he ended up playing that one game there back in 2001, Ichiro replied through a translator, "You have to ask Lou," prompting laughter. After putting up five in the first Tuesday only to go scoreless the rest of the way, the Yankees again attacked early Wednesday. Granderson smacked his 29th homer of the season to right in the first and the Yankees made it 2-0 on a sacrifice fly. Baltimore answered with a run in the second, but the Yankees made it 4-1 in the bottom of the inning on RBI hits by Jeter and Swisher. New York then erupted in the third, chasing Britton after four batters and pouring it on with three hits against reliever Kevin Gregg, including Cano's ninth career grand slam. "It was an ugly loss for us," Hardy said. "We'll try and forget about it, look at it like we won the series." NOTES: Ichiro has hit safely in all nine games he's played for the Yankees. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he put him in left field even with regular right fielder Nick Swisher serving as the DH, because the Yankees want to take advantage of Ichiro's speed in the more spacious left field area at Yankee Stadium. ... Casey McGehee, acquired from the Pittsburg Pirates on Monday, started at first base, sans the facial hair he sported in Pittsburgh, but is banned by the Yankees. He went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and two walks. He will play third base when Teixeira (left wrist inflammation) returns, possibly Friday. ... Orioles' right-hander Jason Hammel (right knee arthroscopic surgery) will begin baseball activities, manager Buck Showalter said. Hammel will need two to four rehab appearances before he can come back, Showalter said. ... Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor attended the game and sat in the bleachers.
By Dave Buscema, The Sports Xchange August 1, 2012 6:10 PM