Orioles-Yankees Preview

The Associated Press

Though there's much work to be done, the New York Yankees' resurgence in the Bronx has them back in the postseason picture.

New York seeks its sixth straight win at Yankee Stadium when it hosts the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

With a win, the Yankees (71-63), who have been mired in fourth place in the AL East since July 7, would pass Baltimore for third in the division.

Most significantly, the Yankees would pass the Orioles (71-62) in the wild-card standings and could pass the 71-63 Indians as well to be the primary pursuer of Oakland and Tampa Bay with a month remaining.

Coming off a 2-4 road trip against Tampa Bay and Toronto, New York got two-run homers from Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro Suzuki to beat Baltimore 8-5 on Friday.

The Yankees have won nine of their last 10 home games, guided by 16 home runs.

Soriano has led the way in his return to the Bronx, with Friday's homer marking his eighth in 15 games at Yankee Stadium this season. He is tied with Miguel Cabrera for the major league lead this month with 11 homers.

"He's playing like an MVP, when you look at the month of August," manager Joe Girardi said. "He's been a complete player for us."

Five of Suzuki's seven home runs have come in the Bronx, and his batting average is 79 points higher at home.

All that bodes well for Ivan Nova (7-4, 3.14 ERA), who is 3-0 with a 2.62 ERA in five August starts - all New York wins.

Nova struggled Sunday, though, yielding two runs - including his first homer in 39 2-3 innings - and walking a career high-tying six in 6 2-3 innings of a 3-2, 11-inning victory over Tampa Bay.

"Nova battled," Girardi told the team's official website. "When you look at his line, he threw a lot of balls (50 in 102 pitches), but he found ways to get outs and he did a good job."

The right-hander has sacrificed strikeouts for efficiency of late.

Nova has averaged 13.9 pitches per inning and 7.58 strikeouts per nine over his last nine starts. He needed 19.2 pitches per inning while striking out 9.64 per nine over his first five starts.

After recording a 7.99 ERA in four starts against the Orioles in 2012, he has a 2.45 ERA in two games - one start - this season. Nova went the distance, allowing two runs and three hits while fanning a season-high 11, in a 3-2 home win over Baltimore on July 5.

The Orioles, who have been outscored 27-13 while dropping three of four, will hope for a spark after acquiring Michael Morse from Seattle on Friday. Morse was 12 for 76 (.158) with 23 strikeouts over the past month after a nearly six-week stint on the disabled list.

They'll look to back Scott Feldman (11-9, 3.87), who has allowed two or fewer runs in three straight starts. On Sunday, he held Oakland to a run and three hits in five innings of a 10-3 victory.

Feldman had a 4.82 ERA in two starts against the Yankees last season, allowing 18 baserunners in just 9 1-3 innings.

Derek Jeter, 3 for 15 since returning from a strained right calf, is 6 for 16 off Feldman with a pair of home runs.

Vernon Wells, with just five at-bats in the Yankees' last five games, is 7 for 14 off Feldman with a triple and two home runs.

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