Orioles RHP Gonzalez loses edge in short spurt
NEW YORK (AP)
There were only a handful of pitches Miguel Gonzalez wanted back. Too bad for him they added up to a tough loss.
Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run homer and Robinson Cano singled in two runs during a five-run fifth inning that helped the New York Yankees pick up an ineffective CC Sabathia and beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-5 Friday night.
''Ichiro was waiting on the first-pitch fastball and the slider to Soriano stayed up,'' Gonzalez said. ''I left the ball up and they're a good team, and they take anything you give and try and score.''
The Orioles, who led twice early, have lost four of six.
Gonzalez, making his first start since Aug. 20, is winless in his last six decisions as a starter. Coming in, though, he had a 2.20 ERA over five starts in the Bronx. But in this one, he couldn't get an out in the fifth and was lifted trailing 5-4 with the bases loaded.
''It wasn't just Miguel tonight. He pitched as well as you'd want, but couldn't get over the hump,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''Miguel has pitched well this year and he'll get another chance. It was just that one inning that got away from him.''
In a playoff-race twist, Mark Reynolds had three hits, including an RBI double when the Yankees batted around in the fifth. Last year he helped Baltimore reach its first postseason since 1997 with seven homers and 11 RBIs in seven games against New York beginning on Aug. 31.
An August pickup by New York from Cleveland this season, Reynolds was right in the mix as the Yankees gained ground in the wild-card race. They began the day 1 1/2 games behind the Orioles, who trailed Oakland by 3 1/2 for the second AL wild card.
''It makes it fun,'' Reynolds said. ''I have so many good friends over there. Last year we wanted nothing more than to kick these guys' tails. Now I want nothing more than to beat them.''
Sabathia (12-11) lasted 5 2-3 innings and yielded five runs on seven hits. In his last eight games, he has a 7.39 ERA.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi then relied on the majors' best bullpen since Aug. 16 (1.14 ERA) to hold off Baltimore. Shawn Kelley, Boone Logan and David Robertson, for four outs, paved the way for Mariano Rivera.
Robertson got more than three outs for the second time this week and for the third time all year. Rivera was perfect in the ninth for his 39th save.
Both starters were locked in early. Sabathia retired his first 10 batters and Gonzalez 10 of 11, allowing only a walk in the third - erased on a double play.
But it turned ugly quickly.
After Sabathia struck out Nate McLouth to open the fourth, Manny Machado laced an opposite-field liner that bounced over the wall in foul territory in right field for his 46th double. He advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Chris Davis' single.
Gonzalez got two quick outs in the bottom half before walking Cano. Soriano then hit his 11th homer in 27 August games to put New York up 2-1.
''He's playing like an MVP, when you look at the month of August,'' Girardi said. ''He's been a complete player for us.''
Nick Markakis led off the fifth with a single and Danny Valencia sent a drive into the Orioles' bullpen in left-center for a 3-2 lead and his sixth home run. Alexi Casilla walked, stole second and was sacrificed to third by Taylor Teagarden. An out later, Machado drove in Casilla with a single.
''When our pitching is down, the hitting has to pick us up,'' Markakis said. ''And when our hitting is down, our pitching has to pick us up.''
Then, in a jarring seven pitches, the Yankees took command of the game and set off a raucous celebration by the crowd of 45,169 rarely heard in the new ballpark that opened in 2009.
Curtis Granderson doubled on Gonzalez's fourth pitch. Reynolds drove a ball just short of the wall in left-center two pitches later for an RBI double.
One offering later, Suzuki homered to right-center to end a homerless drought of 131 at-bats and give the Yankees a 5-4 lead.
Austin Romine kept it going, doubling to right field. Brett Gardner singled and Derek Jeter walked to load the bases and chase Gonzalez. Cano, who missed a game after being hit on the hand by a pitch Tuesday, singled in two more runs for a 7-4 lead.
Gonzalez allowed six hits and seven runs. He walked three.
NOTES: Baltimore acquired OF-1B Mike Morse from Seattle for outfield prospect Xavier Avery. A .284 career hitter, Morse slumped to .226 with 13 homers and 27 RBIs in 76 games in his return to Seattle after four years with Washington. ... The Yankees will push back struggling right-hander Phil Hughes to Monday and start LHP Andy Pettitte on Sunday in the finale against the Orioles.