The Orioles came into tonight's game with a good opportunity to take the series from the Yankees and reverse their fortunes from a year ago when the Bronx Bombers took 6 of 9 games at home. A win would not only bring the birds to within one game of .500 on the season, but would send them home with added confidence heading into a six-game home stand against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays. After taking an early 3-0 lead, the Yankees came back to tie the game but in the end the Orioles triumphed with a 5-4 victory before 39,412 fans at Yankee Stadium.
The Orioles picked up where they left off yesterday when Jonathan Schoop hit a blast with Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters aboard to give the birds a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning. Meanwhile, the Yankees did not waste any time making a game out of it when Carlos Beltran homered to lead off the 2nd and two batters later Kelly Johnson also hit one into the seats to bring the home team within one run. Alfonso Soriano would tie the game in the bottom of the 4th inning with a ground out. Although the Orioles had many chances to score after the 2nd, they kept chasing pitches that were just out of the strike zone and stranding runners on base.
Miguel Gonzalez kept the Yankees at bay in the 5th and 6th, but he struggled at times to find the plate and left the game after six frames having given up 7 hits and 3 runs on 85 pitches. Masahiro Tanaka had a similar line with 7 hits and 3 runs through seven innings, but Tanaka ended up with 10 strikeouts to his credit. In the top of the 8th, the Orioles wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead. After a Chris Davis strikeout, relief pitcher Adam Warren gave up an infield single to Adam Jones who made it to second on a botched pick-off attempt. Matt Wieters then walked to put two runners on base with only one down.
At one point, Warren threw a pitch that got away from catcher Brian McCann who could not locate the ball. Jones could have taken 3rd base and looked upset for not having taken advantage of the Yankees miscue. Jones would not cross the plate because Nelson Cruz hit a lazy fly to right and Steve Lombardozzi popped out to short to end the rally. It was a critical moment for the Orioles, and one sensed that their inability to bring home at least one runner would shift the momentum to the Yankees the very next inning. Indeed, Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the 8th with a double, and moved to 3rd on a Derek Jeter sacrifice. However, Brian Matusz got two fly outs interspersed with an intentional walk to keep the game knotted at 3-3.
That set the stage for some Orioles magic as Ryan Flaherty, who had struggled offensively during the first week of the season, ripped a double to right-center field. Jonathan Schoop followed with a single, moving Flaherty to 3rd base. That set the stage for Nick Markakis who singled and knocked in Flaherty, giving the birds a 4-3 advantage. After a Delmon Young single, Chris Davis came up with the bases loaded an opportunity to pick up his first round-tripper of the season. Davis did not come through with the long ball, but he hit a fly ball that scored Schoop and gave the Orioles a 5-3 lead. Markakis and Young moved over to 3rd on a passed ball which set up the possibility of a big inning, but Adam Jones struck out swinging and Matt Wieters grounded out to end the inning.
Things got a little too interesting in the bottom of the 9th as Orioles closer Tommy Hunter gave a up a lead-off double to Alfonso Soriano and an infield single to Kelly Johnson. Former Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts came up with an opportunity to win the game for his new team, but he hit a sacrifice fly that brought the Yankees to within one run. Hunter was able to get Yangervis Solarte to hit into a double-play to end the game and give the Baltimore Orioles the game and the series.
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