NEW YORK -- The Yankees hadn't played in two days because of consecutive rainouts, but it was the Baltimore Orioles who showed some rust Friday night before 35,033 at chilly Yankee Stadium.
Baltimore (5-5) center fielder Adam Jones dropped Vernon Wells' long fly ball with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, allowing all three runs to score on the error as the Yankees (5-4) grabbed a 5-2 win in the first of a three-game set.
C.C. Sabathia (2-1) went eight innings, giving up eight hits. He struck out nine and didn't allow a walk. The Yankees left-handed ace is now 17-4 lifetime against the Orioles.
Sabathia has allowed his opponents to score in just three of the 20 innings he's pitched this season.
"I thought he was brilliant tonight," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi of his ace. "I thought he had a great sinker, a great changeup and a great slider. I think that was the best stuff he had all year."
He was aided by a triple play in the eighth inning. Manny Machado hit a sharp ground ball to second baseman Robinson Cano, who threw to shortstop Jayson Nix, who tossed it to third baseman Kevin Youkilis to nail Nick Markakis rounding second from first.
Alexi Casilla was caught in a run-down between second and third before getting tagged out by Youkilis. Machado was the third out on the wild play when he tried to get to second and was out on a put-out by Cano.
"It was a huge play for us," Girardi commented. "You're thinking two, then when the ball goes to third you're thinking all right we kept him out of scoring position. Then all of a sudden you see the other guy stray off and you say, 'We might as well get three.'"
It was the Yankees' second triple play since 1969. The last one occurred in 2010.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter defended the base-running.
"The two lead runners made the right plays," he said. "With a line drive that's short-hopped, you can't go anywhere because if he (Cano) catches it on the fly then he does get multiple outs.
"We just made a mistake on the trail runner (Machado) trying to get a little aggressive."
Miguel Gonzalez (1-1) was the hard-luck loser. Mariano Rivera earned his 610th career save.
New York was rained out in Cleveland Wednesday and Thursday.
The Yankees broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh without the benefit of a base hit. Francisco Cervelli led off with his second walk of the night from the ninth spot in the order. He was moved over to second on a perfectly laid-down sacrifice bunt by Brett Gardner and reached third on a fielder's choice.
Youkilis was intentionally walked and Travis Hafner was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jones seemed to have caught Wells' drive going back to dead center, but dropped it at the last second.
"I don't dwell on Adam's play because he's spoiled us with such a high level of play in center field," Showalter said. "That's why it gets everybody's attention."
The Orioles drew even at 2-2 in the seventh on an RBI single from J.J. Hardy that drove in Matt Wieters, who reached on a Youkilis error and went to second on a balk by Sabathia.
The bitterly cold night didn't seem to affect either starting pitcher through the first five innings. Gonzalez scattered five hits, struck out three and walked four.
However, two of those four walks issued came around to score.
Sabathia threw just 13 balls in five innings, allowing just four hits. He struck out eight and didn't allow a walk, mixing his fastball with a devastating slider.
"I got some good counts and I was able to put some guys away," Sabathia said. "I was just trying to attack the strike zone and get ahead in the count."
Cano provided the Yankees with a 2-1 edge in the fifth when he singled in Cervelli, who had walked to start the inning. Cervelli advanced to second on Gardner's sacrifice bunt.
The Orioles had grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third on a single by Machado that knocked in Casilla, who had doubled leading off the inning.
The Yankees quickly tied it in their half of the third.
Gardner drew a one-out walk, went to second on Cano's single and scored when Youkilis ripped a single to left. The Yankees might have scored more, but Youkilis was caught in a rundown trying to stretch his hit into a double.
The inning ended with Wells flying out to deep left, stranding Cano at third.
The Orioles has their two-game winning streak snapped.
NOTES: The Yankees had scored at least seven runs in each of their last three games heading into Friday's game with Baltimore. ... Orioles designated hitters have the lowest batting average (.033, 1-for-30) in the American League. They are the only team without an extra-base hit from the DH spot. ... Orioles catchers have thrown out five of six attempted base stealers. Entering Friday's games, no other AL team's catchers had caught more than two.