ALDS Game 1: CC Sabathia and ninth-inning outburst lifts Yanks over Orioles in series opener

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

Score and situation: The New York Yankees used a five-run ninth inning to register a late 7-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles Sunday night at Camden Yards. The victory gives them a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five ALDS.

Leading lads: It took a long while for the Yankees offense to really get going on Sunday but better late than never for Yankees fans. Russell Martin hit a go-ahead home run off Orioles closer Jim Johnson to lead off the top of the ninth and the Yankees would add four more runs to blow open what had been a very tight Game 1 between the two AL East rivals. CC Sabathia kept his team in it for a majority of the night, earning the win by allowing two runs and striking out seven over 8 2/3 innings of work.

Head hangers: Johnson recorded 51 saves during Baltimore's magical regular season with three coming against the Yankees. But he just didn't have it in this one, recording only one out before being lifted for Tommy Hunter. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters were invisible at the heart of Baltimore's lineup, going a combined 0-for-8.

Key play: Martin's home run will lead the highlights, but we'll go with Sabathia inducing a ground ball from Mark Reynolds to end the eighth inning. The out ended an Orioles threat that had started with a leadoff double from J.J. Hardy, but Sabathia got the next three batters to strand Hardy at second and the score tied at two.

Interesting stat: The Yankees now have the same number of playoff wins at Camden Yards (four) as the Orioles. (h/n River Avenue Blues.)

What they'll be talking about: Sabathia's effort erased any silly suggestions that he was no longer the ace of the Yankees. Now it'll be up to his rotation mates to erase the questions that exist behind him. Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda get the next two starts as the Yankees try to put an end to the improbable season of the Orioles.

What's next: Game 2 of the ALDS is scheduled for Monday night at 8:07 ET. Pettitte and Wei-Yin Chen are the scheduled starters

Are you ready for the postseason?
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