BALTIMORE - The Orioles have rarely found much success against New York starter CC Sabathia. But some timely hitting plus the pitching of Wei-Yin Chen helped the Baltimore beat its long-time nemesis.
Adam Jones homered and J.J. Hardy drove in two runs to support another strong start from Chen as the Baltimore Orioles scored a 5-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
The victory before 24,055 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards gave Baltimore (23-14) a split of the two-game series with New York (20-16) and its first win over the Yankees at home this season. New York had taken the first four meetings in Baltimore.
It also let the Orioles remain in a tie with Tampa Bay for first place in the American League East. The Rays beat the Blue Jays on Tuesday and also are 23-14.
Sabathia (5-1) came into the game with a 16-2 career record versus the Orioles. He had a no-decision in his last start on April 11 in Baltimore but won his previous seven starts against the Orioles.
"It started with our pitching," Jones said. "Chen halted that lineup and gave us an opportunity. Sabathia, as we all know, is one of the game's best pitchers. We had to make things happen against him. It all started with Chen shutting down that ridiculous lineup."
Chen (4-0) allowed four hits and two walks while striking out four in seven innings. He kept the Yankees off-balance by changing speeds, especially using a good changeup as the game went on.
He only allowed a two-run homer in the seventh to Curtis Granderson and never ran into much trouble.
Granderson may have gotten a break on that homer when a fan wearing a Yankees jacket reached out of the stands and appeared to either knock the ball away from left fielder Xavier Avery or possibly deflect it into the stands.
"I think this outing was just fine," Chen said through an interpreter. "If I can keep pitching good and we can [get] the W, that's the best part."
Chen hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any of his seven starts. His ERA dropped to 2.45 and he's consistently been effective.
"He's got his feet on the ground a little bit," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's comfortable. Obviously, he's pitching as well as any of our starters."
Sabathia wasn't as sharp in this game. He gave up four runs on eight hits in six innings.
The left-hander struck out six but walked four and needed 103 pitches to get through those six innings.
"The sinker was a little off," Sabathia said. "I felt like I had a good one early, but it kind of went away from me. It was a battle. That's a really good team over there."
Jones gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead with his second-inning solo homer, and Hardy got an RBI double in the fifth and a run-scoring infield single in the sixth. He didn't get an RBI when his double-play grounder scored a run in the third.
The Orioles were up 4-0 when Granderson's homer cut the lead in half in the seventh. But Baltimore scratched out an insurance run in the bottom half of the seventh. Jones scored on catcher Chris Stewart's second passed ball of the night.
Pedro Strop relieved Chen and escaped a jam in the eighth. Closer Jim Johnson finished it for his 12th save. He's now converted 20 consecutive save opportunities dating back to last season.
The Orioles also helped the cause by turning three double plays, one each in the eighth and ninth.
Baltimore took a 1-0 lead when Jones homered to lead off the bottom of the second. Jones sent a 1-0 pitch from Sabathia into the left field seats for his 11th homer this season.
The Orioles added a run in the third but could have done more. Steve Tolleson doubled to start the inning and went to third on Avery's bunt single. Sabathia plunked Robert Andino to load the bases with no outs.
However, the New York starter got Hardy to ground into a double play. Tolleson scored, but the Orioles couldn't do anything else in the inning and settled for a 2-0 lead.
They made it 3-0 in the fifth when Hardy's RBI double scored Avery, who had walked. Meanwhile, Chen kept the Yankees quiet and let the Orioles score a big early-season win.
"So [Chen] halted that lineup and gave our offense the best opportunity," Jones said. "That's all we ask of our starting pitching."
NOTES: The Yankees received some bad news before the game when it was announced that closer David Robertson is going on the 15-day disabled list with a strained ribcage muscle. Robertson hasn't pitched since Friday and felt pain since then. He underwent tests Tuesday, and the DL decision was made. New York called up Cody Eppley from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Rafael Soriano will be the new closer. He saved Monday's 8-5 win over the Orioles. ... Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold, sidelined for two weeks due to a bulging neck disk, might need a second epidural injection. Reimold said he has been dealing with left thumb and forearm tingling and left shoulder soreness, and he doesn't know whether to expect gradual or immediate improvement. ... Baltimore reliever Matt Lindstrom was diagnosed with a partially torn ligament in his right middle finger, and he plans to see a specialist. He went on the disabled list Friday due to soreness in the finger. ... Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova said his sprained right ankle felt better Tuesday, leaving him hopeful that he would be able to make his start Saturday against the Reds. Nova might push his bullpen session back from Wednesday to Thursday or skip it altogether, but it wouldn't impact his ability to start Saturday.