Yankees 4, Orioles 3

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees watched the Baltimore Orioles jump on them early again. The Orioles showed they were not intimidated by the puzzled looks of those who question how they are still in the pennant race or the Yankee Stadium atmosphere -- which often deflates teams this time of year.

The Yankees were beset with an early three-run deficit and another key player injured.

But thanks to some wildness by Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen and reliever Pedro Strop, a classic at-bat by Derek Jeter and an error, the Yankees' slumping offense finally pushed across three runs in the seventh for a 4-3 win Saturday.

The victory was just the Yankees' 10th in their last 15 games and upped their lead over the Orioles in the AL East to three games, when Baltimore had been nine outs from cutting it to one.

A little while after Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Alex Rodriguez could return Monday after an issue-free rehab appearance Friday night, center fielder Curtis Granderson left after the second inning. The Yankees said he had a tight right hamstring and would undergo a precautionary MRI.

Boone Logan (6-2) pitched two scoreless innings to allow the Yankees to get back into it, after starter David Phelps allowed three runs on three hits and a career-high six walks in 4 2/3 innings.

Robinson Cano homered for New York, while Matt Wieters homered for Baltimore.

Chen (12-8) limited the Yankees to one run through six, but cracked in the seventh, up 3-1.

Steve Pearce singled with one out for his first hit as a Yankee, and Jayson Nix walked with two outs. Eduardo Nunez, fresh up from Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, then had the Yankees' biggest hit in their past few games, coming up with a rare single with runners in scoring position for them, and cutting the deficit to 3-2.

Strop then came on and walked Ichiro Suzuki, before getting ahead of Jeter 0-2.

But Jeter hung in on a tough, seven-pitch at-bat, working the count back full, before finally drawing a RBI walk to tie the game, 3-3.

Nick Swisher then hit a hard smash at shortstop J.J. Hardy, who bobbled it and couldn't recover in time, for an error, and the Yankees had their first lead in the past two games, 4-3.

David Robertson pitched a perfect eighth and Rafael Soriano closed it out with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 35th save of the season.

The Yankees were helped in the seventh when Cano made a running, over-the-shoulder catch of Robert Andino's blooper into right-center to start the inning. Baltimore later put two on with a single and a walk, but Logan retired Nate McLouth on a fly to right to end the threat.

The Orioles had taken a 3-0 lead early, with a walk and a single in the first helping them score on a double play grounder in the first. They added another run in the second on Manny Machado's RBI single and made it 3-0 in the fourth on Wieters' 18th homer of the season.

The Yankees closed within 3-1 in the fourth on Cano's 28th homer of the year, just the Yankees' third run in the past 15 innings.

NOTES: Rodriguez (fractured left hand) is "definitely a possibility" to rejoin the Yankees early next week for their series at the Tampa Bay Rays, Girardi said after the third baseman had an issue-free rehab appearance for Class A Tampa on Friday night. ... Francisco Cervelli, the Yankees' backup catcher for most of the previous two seasons, was a September call-up. Cervelli said he was "frustrated" when the Yankees demoted him in favor of Chris Stewart at the end of spring training, but eventually found a positive side. ... Orioles righty Jason Hammel was scheduled for his first rehab appearance Saturday night for Class A (Frederick, Md.). If all goes well, he could start next Thursday against the Yankees at Camden Yards, Showalter said. ... Granderson's MRI revealed no bruise or tear, Girardi said after the game, and he could play Sunday.
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