The Baltimore Orioles are enjoying their longest home win streak over the New York Yankees in 30 years, and there may be added incentive for both teams as their four-game set continues.
The confrontation between managers Buck Showalter and Joe Girardi was the story of the series opener, and the Orioles will look to make it seven straight at home over the Yankees on Tuesday night.
Baltimore (77-66) started this critical series with a 4-2 win Monday, and is on its longest run at home over New York since winning 10 in a row at Memorial Stadium from 1981-83.
The Orioles and Cleveland are both 1 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay for the AL's second wild card while the Yankees (76-68) fell three games back with their fourth loss in five games.
The pressure of the pennant race was evident Monday. Both dugouts emptied briefly after the first inning, when Showalter angrily exchanged words with Girardi after the Yankees manager yelled at Baltimore third base coach Bobby Dickerson, accusing him of stealing signs. Showalter had to be restrained by home plate umpire Ed Hickox as he charged onto the field.
"Two competitive good teams and we're fighting for the same thing, so there's a small margin for error. ... But Bobby's not giving pitches,'' Showalter said.
Girardi did not divulge details about the incident.
"The one thing that I've done, the whole time that I'm here, and everywhere I've been, is I'm going to protect our players at all lengths," Girardi said. "That's what I'm going to do, and there was something that I saw and I'm just going to leave it at that."
The Orioles may like their chances of maintaining their streak over the Yankees since they are 9-2 at home when they start Miguel Gonzalez (9-7, 3.98 ERA), who gets the ball Tuesday.
Gonzalez is 6-2 with a 3.80 ERA at home as a starter, earning his first victory since July 20 by limiting the White Sox to one run over seven innings in a 3-1 win Thursday.
The right-hander, however, is 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA in four starts against the Yankees this year. Robinson Cano is 2 for 15 against him all-time, but Ichiro Suzuki is 4 for 13 with two homers and a double.
The Yankees will start Ivan Nova (8-4, 3.02), who is 4-0 with a 2.47 ERA in his last seven outings. New York won the first six of that span before the right-hander gave up four runs in four innings in Thursday's 9-8, 10-inning loss to Boston.
Nova's previous start was a two-hitter for his first career shutout in a 2-0 victory over Baltimore on Aug. 31. He also went the distance with a three-hitter and season-high 11 strikeouts in his other 2013 start versus the Orioles, a 3-2 victory July 5.
Adam Jones is 0 for 10 against Nova this year, Manny Machado is 1 for 11 and Chris Davis is 1 for 7 with a homer.
The Orioles who have fared better are Nick Markakis (3 for 10) and Matt Wieters (3 for 7). Markakis had three hits Monday after going 5 for 32 in his previous nine games.
Alex Rodriguez and Lyle Overbay homered Monday for New York. Overbay, however, is hitless in seven 2013 at-bats versus Gonzalez.
Girardi said that Derek Jeter (ankle) remains day to day while relievers David Robertson and Boone Logan remain unavailable Tuesday.
Baltimore needs one victory in the final three games of this set to win a season series against New York for the first time since 1997.