The injuries keep mounting for the New York Yankees, who keep finding ways to win in spite of a roster shuffle that will likely continue to the final day of the season.
Alfonso Soriano hit two home runs, including a tiebreaking shot in the eighth inning, and the Yankees rallied past the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Tuesday night to end a six-game losing streak at Camden Yards.
Mark Reynolds also homered for the Yankees, who won for the second time in six games to bolster their postseason hopes. New York still trails Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Cleveland in the hunt for the final AL wild-card slot.
”With the punch that we have now, you feel you can come back,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 49th home run for the Orioles and raised his RBI total to 126. Baltimore led 4-1 in the fifth inning before faltering.
The Yankees have been dealing with injuries all year, and the trend continued in this game. Alex Rodriguez experienced tightness in his left hamstring, catcher Austin Romine received a concussion and starting pitcher Ivan Nova was removed early because of a sore right triceps.
And still, the Yankees won after falling into a three-run hole. Soriano and Reynolds launched the comeback with solo homers in the sixth off Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez.
The victory was Girardi’s 556th with the Yankees, tying Billy Martin for sixth place on the franchise list. Girardi and Orioles manager Buck Showalter did not cross paths on the diamond after exchanging angry words Monday night over Baltimore allegedly stealing signs.
After the game, the Yankees acquired slick-fielding shortstop Brendan Ryan from Seattle for a player to be named – perhaps a sign that Derek Jeter isn’t coming back from his sore ankle anytime soon.
Ryan batted .192 in 87 games with the Mariners this season and lost his starting job during the summer. He would not be eligible to play in the postseason for the Yankees because they acquired him after Aug. 31.
Rodriguez led off the eighth with a double against rookie Kevin Gausman (2-5) and Robinson Cano delivered an RBI single. A-Rod said he tweaked his hamstring coming around third base.
”I iced it,” Rodriguez said. ”It feels pretty good right now.”
Soriano followed with a two-run shot to center, his 15th homer in 43 games since New York reacquired him in a July 26 trade with the Chicago Cubs.
”They made a good acquisition,” Showalter said. ”He’s been a good player for a long time. It’s a good pickup for them.”
Soriano could end up being the biggest reason New York gets into the postseason. He certainly played a big part in this victory.
”Tonight, we (trailed) 4-1 but we come back and get the win, the important win,” he said. ”We believe we have a very good offense.”
After Soriano connected in the eighth, successive doubles by Curtis Granderson and Reynolds off Francisco Rodriguez made it 7-4.
Adam Warren (2-2) pitched a perfect seventh, Shawn Kelley gave up a sacrifice fly to Matt Wieters in the eighth and Mariano Rivera got four straight outs for his 650th career save. He has converted 42 of 49 chances this year.
”That was a big win for us today,” Alex Rodriguez said. ”They have a very good bullpen. And we just put together some really good at-bats against some good pitching.”
New York took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI double by Rodriguez, but the advantage dissipated in the fifth.
Three straight singles off Nova produced a run, and with runners at second and third Nick Markakis hit a fly to left. After Brian Roberts tagged up and headed home, Rodriguez cut off the throw from Soriano between third base and the mound, causing catcher Chris Stewart to raise his arms with a quizzical look because there was no other play on the bases.
But Girardi said of the throw: ”It was off line.”
One out later, Davis drove a breaking pitch into the center-field seats. He needs one home run to tie the franchise record of 50, set by Brady Anderson in 1996.
Nova left after the sixth. He said his triceps was bothering him from the opening pitch.
”The whole game,” he said. ”Like I told the guys, not the first time that I’ve felt it. But like I told Joe, and the pitching coach, I feel good enough to keep pitching.”
NOTES: Andy Pettitte (10-9) will start for New York against Baltimore RHP Scott Feldman on Wednesday night in the third game of the four-game series. … The Yankees signed LHP Mike Zagurski to fortify the bullpen. Zagurski, who opted out of his minor league contract with Oakland on Sept. 1, arrived in Baltimore on Tuesday. New York transferred DH Travis Hafner (shoulder) to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Zagurski on the 40-man roster, most likely ending Hafner’s season. … Davis misplayed a grounder to first base, giving the Orioles 42 errors with 21 games left. The record low for a 162-game season is 65 by the 2003 Seattle Mariners. … Yankees reliever David Robertson (shoulder inflammation) threw a bullpen and said he ”didn’t have any problems.” Girardi said he expects Robertson to be available Wednesday.