Miguel Gonzalez (W, 6-3) kept the New York Yankees (75-56) scoreless over seven innings at Yankee Stadium on Friday night, piling up nine strikeouts against one walk in the Baltimore Orioles' 6-1 win.
The Orioles (73-58), by taking the important three-game series opener, cut their AL East deficit down to two games, the Yankees' slimmest lead since the 1 1/2-game edge they had over Baltimore on Friday, June 22.
"Obviously, I do know that it's down to two games, but I think it's too early to [worry]," Ichiro Suzuki, speaking to Yahoo! Contributor Network through an interpreter, said after being asked if he sensed pressure building up in the Yankees clubhouse. "It is an important series, but it's too early to be saying that, I think."
Mark Reynolds' two-run home run off Hiroki Kuroda (L, 12-10) (8.1 IP, 8H, 4R) highlighted Baltimore's three-run, second-inning rally, and J.J. Hardy made it 4-0 with a solo homer in the sixth.
Gonzalez, meanwhile, limited the Yankees to one hit through the first five innings. Suzuki hit a leadoff single to right in the sixth, but with one out and runners on first and third later in the inning, Gonzalez struck Nick Swisher out swinging and induced a popout in foul territory from Robinson Cano.
With runners on first and second in the seventh, Gonzalez got Suzuki to bounce into an inning-ending, 6-4 force out.
"I've only faced him (Gonzalez) twice, so I don't know what the difference was tonight, but he had really good control," said Suzuki, whose sixth-inning single was one of only five hits the Yankees had on the night.
Gonzalez's victory Friday is his second in as many career starts vs. the Yankees, with his first taking place on July 30 this year. He pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits (three homers) in Baltimore's 5-4 victory in the Bronx that day.
Reynolds launched Derek Lowe's 1-1 sinker into the left field stands in the ninth, bringing his career multi-homer game total to 16 (all of which are of the two-homer variety). The first baseman's previous such game came at the expense of the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 14 of this year.
The Orioles are now 5-2 at Yankee Stadium and 6-6 against the Yankees overall this season.
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