Orioles again hold a late lead, deadlock series with Yankees

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles had record-setting success in one-run games during the regular season, and that continued Monday night against the New York Yankees.
Chris Davis had a two-run single, Mark Reynolds added an RBI single and Wei-Yin Chen threw 6 1/3 solid innings as the Orioles defeated the Yankees 3-2 in Game 2 of their American League Division Series.
The win enabled Baltimore to tie the best-of-five series at one game apiece. The series shifts to New York for Game 3 on Wednesday at 7:37 p.m. This was the first home playoff victory for the Orioles since 1997 and even brought owner Peter Angelos into the locker room to walk around and greet players.
During the regular season, the Orioles finished with a 29-9 record in one-run games. That translates to a winning percentage of .763, the highest in major league history in one-run games. They added another one to tie this ALDS series.
"I'm just real proud that the guys continue to compete and do it with a lot of let-it-fly mentality," Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "There's no back-off in them at all."
The Orioles also didn't blow late leads, a key to success in one-run games. They were 74-0 in the regular season when leading after seven innings. That happened again in this game as the Orioles took the lead in the third and never trailed again.
The combination of Chen and another strong effort from the Orioles' bullpen -- 2 2/3 scoreless innings in this game -- gave Baltimore the win.
"I think the fact that we've been so good in close games and in extra innings and the fact that our bullpen has been so strong down the stretch really bodes well for us," Davis said.
Chen gave the Orioles a much needed good start. He gave up two runs and scattered eight hits over his 6 1/3 innings. Chen struck out three and walked just one, working his way out of a few tough jams.
"Today I just wanted to go deep," Chen said through an interpreter. "I didn't want to think too much. I just wanted to face one batter, one batter and another batter."
Showalter then called on the bullpen to finish the job, and it did just that. Darren O'Day got a key out in the seventh, and Brian Matusz threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Jim Johnson then made up for his Game 1 problems to close it with a perfect ninth.
Davis gave the Orioles the lead for good with his two-run single in the fourth. Reynolds pitched in with an RBI single in the sixth, and that proved to be enough.
New York starter Andy Pettitte made his 43rd postseason start -- a major league record -- and nearly matched Chen but took the loss.
Pettitte ran into trouble only twice, but the Orioles scored both times. He gave up three runs on seven hits in seven-plus innings.
The Yankees scored in the first inning for the second straight game and took a 1-0 lead thanks to a bizarre play involving Ichiro Suzuki.
After Alex Rodriguez lined into a double play, the Yankees were left with Ichiro on first and two outs. Robinson Cano then ripped a shot off the right-field wall. Second baseman Robert Andino's relay to the plate easily beat Ichiro, but he went through the right-handed batter's box to get around Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters.
Wieters couldn't tag Ichiro, but Ichiro didn't touch the plate. Ichiro then eluded Wieters from behind the plate and touched home with his right hand for a 1-0 lead.
"It's an incredible play," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Wieters is not an easy guy to get around, I can tell you that, with the size of him, but somehow he did it."
The Orioles took the lead with a two-run, two-out rally in the third. Andino and Nate McLouth both singled, and J.J. Hardy walked to load the bases before Davis lined a two-run single to right to put Baltimore up 2-1.
Adam Jones then hit a seeing-eye single to left, but Hardy didn't pick up third-base coach DeMarlo Hale waving him home and stopped at third. Wieters flew out to center for the last out.
New York threatened in the fourth, loading the bases with one out before Chen retired Eduardo Nunez on a popup and Derek Jeter on a forceout.
The Orioles made it 3-1 on Reynolds' RBI single in the sixth. Jeter answered with an RBI single in the seventh.
But Baltimore held on, and the two teams have split the 20 games they've played this year as they head to New York to finish the series.
"Whoever pitches the best and scores in their opportunities is really what's going to make the difference," Girardi said.
NOTES: Game 1 had a rain delay of two hours, 26 minutes at the start, and Monday's game also had to battle the weather. The start was delayed for 40 minutes because of rain. ... Manny Machado became the youngest player in Orioles history to get a hit in postseason play. He's 20 years old. Paul Blair (22) had held the record he set in the 1966 World Series, when the Orioles stunned the Dodgers in a four-game sweep. ... Miguel Gonzalez is scheduled to be the Orioles' Game 3 starter on Wednesday night in New York. ... CC Sabathia's start in Game 1 gave him the second-most starts (nine) in the opening game of a playoff series ever. He had been tied with Whitey Ford and Roger Clemens and ranks behind only Greg Maddux (11). ... Ichiro has hit in 20 consecutive games at Camden Yards while playing with both the Mariners and Yankees.

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