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Orioles 5, Yankees 4

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- Backed by home runs from Mark Reynolds, Lew Ford and J.J. Hardy, the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Yankees 5-4 on Saturday night to once again move into a first-place tie with New York in the American League East.

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 New York starter CC Sabathia (13-5) for the second time this year after the left-hander was 16-2 against them before the 2012 season.

The Orioles (78-61) and Yankees are going to 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.

Mark Teixeira then grounded into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play, and the Orioles survived.

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

The Orioles got a scary moment in the fifth when Sabathia drilled Markakis on the left hand. Markakis, who already missed about six weeks with a broken right wrist earlier this season, had the hand checked by trainer Richie Bancells and then came out of the game.

NOTES: Orioles manager Buck 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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