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Orioles' 5-4 win over Yankees proves costly with loss of Markakis

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE-The Baltimore Orioles scored another dramatic victory Saturday night, one that helped them into a first-place tie with the Yankees. But it proved very costly.

Backed by home runs from Mark Reynolds, Lew Ford and J.J. Hardy, the Orioles defeated the Yankees 5-4. But Baltimore lost right fielder Nick Markakis for a minimum of six weeks with a broken left thumb.

Markakis got drilled by New York starter CC Sabathia (13-5) in the fifth inning and came out right away. The right fielder is a leader in the clubhouse and has sparked the offense in the second half ever since manager Buck Showalter moved him to the leadoff spot.

That came after Markakis returned from missing six weeks following surgery for a broken hamate bone in his right wrist.

"A minimum of six weeks, but it's so preliminary right now," Showalter said. "They'll get some more pictures. I knew when I looked at it going out there. It breaks my heart personally and for him. I know how much this time of the season means to him."

Markakis also said he could tell right away.

"I knew it was broken," Markakis said. "I knew it as soon as he it. I knew how it hit me and I couldn't bend my thumb."

Showalter said the Orioles (78-61) are hoping Markakis won't need to have another operation. That would make three this season for a player who'd almost never been hurt before.

The Markakis situation tempered what should have been a big victory. Ford and Hardy both knocked in two runs, and Reynolds homered for the seventh time this season against the Yankees (78-61).

The Orioles beat Sabathia for the second time this year after the left-hander was 16-2 against them before the 2012 season.

Baltimore also appeared to get a break on a call at game's end. New York rallied against Oriole closer Jim Johnson to score once in the ninth and cut the lead to 5-4.

The Yankees had runners on first and third with one when Mark Teixeira grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to seal Johnson's 42nd save. It was very close and left the Yankees fuming afterwards.

``It was not a bang-bang play," manager Joe Girardi said. "He was safe. He was clearly safe. You hate to lose a game that way, but he (the first base umpire) missed it.''

Baltimore and the Yankees meet for the final time this season on Sunday afternoon. New York had a 10-game lead over Baltimore at one point earlier this summer, but the teams now are tied for the third time in less than a week.

Joe Saunders (2-1) earned the win. He gave up two runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Darren O'Day came on in the sixth and got out of a two-on, one-out jam and struck out three of the five Yankee batters he faced.

Pedro Strop gave up a run and had problems again in the eighth before Brian Matusz retired Curtis Granderson to end the inning.

Jim Johnson found his own problems in the ninth. He gave up three straight singles to load the bases. Nick Swisher drove in a run on a force-out to make it 5-4 which left runners at first and third, setting up the Teixeira ending.

The Yankees took a 1-0 lead on an Alex Rodriguez sacrifice fly in the first. That scored Derek Jeter, who reached on an infield single and went to third on a Texeira double.

New York added another run in the second when Russell Martin got a leadoff walk and scored on Ichiro Suzuki's one-out double that sailed over the head of center fielder Adam Jones.

But the Orioles answered in the bottom of the second with back-to-back solo homers from Reynolds and Ford.

Reynolds struck first, blasting a solo shot to left center. Ford followed with his homer that just got over the wall in right-center to tie the game at 2-2.

Baltimore then took the lead in the fourth. Markakis singled with one out and moved up on Robert Andino's dribbler in front of the plate. Hardy then lined a double into the right-field corner to put the Orioles up, 3-2.

Markakis then got hurt in the fifth, and left the Orioles figuring out what to do from here.

"It's part of the game," Jones said. "People have injuries late in the year. It's extremely unfortunate. It sucks, but it's sports. It's professional sports. It's how things happen sometimes".

NOTES: Showalter, knowing that left-hander Sabathia had dominated his team, overloaded the lineup with eight right-handed batters, including back-ups like Ford, Steve Tolleson and Taylor Teagarden. The moves worked early as Ford combined with Reynolds for the back-to-back homers in the second. ... Showalter also held out catcher Matt Wieters, who'd played for eight consecutive days. The Orioles also have an off-day on Monday, so that will give Wieters two breaks in three days, something the catcher could use at this time of the year. ... Teixeira returned to the lineup after missing the last 10 games with a left calf strain. That first-inning double came on his first at-bat back. ... The Yankees have been in first place alone or tied for the top spot since June 14. That's 84 consecutive days, and it's the longest time they've held first - or shared it - without losing it since 2004 when the team stayed there for the final 126 days that year.
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