The New York Yankees blew a late lead, had a runner thrown out at the plate in the 10th inning and stranded nine.
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And still – as usual – they beat the Baltimore Orioles.
Russell Martin singled home the tiebreaking run in the 11th inning after Mariano Rivera gave up the lead in the ninth, and the Yankees escaped with a 6-3 victory Sunday.
”We found a way to get it done,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. ”That’s the bottom line.”
Rivera, who blew his second save in nine tries, said, ”Thank God we won the game. To me that’s the most important.”
The thriller of a game had a bit of everything, including a 40-minute rain delay in the 11th inning. Baltimore rallied against Joba Chamberlain and Rivera; both teams missed a chance to win in the late innings; and the Yankees ultimately prevailed on the strength of three infield hits and a couple of Baltimore errors in a wild 11th.
Robinson Cano led off the 11th with a double off Jason Berken (0-1). After Nick Swisher failed on a bunt attempt, Cano was caught between the bases. Catcher Matt Wieters threw to second, and Cano scampered safely to third.
Swisher struck out, and after an intentional walk to Eric Chavez, Martin hit a grounder deep in the hole to shortstop Robert Andino, who threw wildly to second in a desperate attempt to start a double play.
”It’s just a firm groundball that was hit in the right spot,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ”Robert tried to make a great play and I applaud him for it.”
One out later, Derek Jeter hit a slow roller to third, and Mark Reynolds’ throw went awry on what was ruled an infield hit. Curtis Granderson followed with an RBI single off the glove of second baseman Brian Roberts.
Boone Logan (1-1) got four outs, and Buddy Carlyle retired the final two batters.
Jeter had four hits for the Yankees, who earned their sixth straight series win at Camden Yards. New York is 41-17 against Baltimore since the start of the 2008 season.
After Reynolds hit a two-run homer off Chamberlain to make it 3-2 in the seventh, the Orioles drew even in the ninth. With runners on first and second and two outs, Roberts bounced a double into the right-field corner. One run scored, but Andino was thrown out at the plate by Cano, who took the relay from Swisher.
”A perfect relay is what it takes,” Girardi said. ”Swish comes up and hits the cutoff man, hits Robbie, and Robbie makes a good throw and we get Andino.”
The throw kept the Yankees alive, but Rivera still felt badly about giving up the lead.
”They were a couple of close pitches, the umpire called them balls. I just battle, just battle,” the right-hander said. ”At the end, Brian put a good ball inside the base. You can’t do nothing against that.”
In the top of the 10th, New York had runners at the corners with one out when Alex Rodriguez lifted a fly ball to medium center. Jeter tagged up at third and Adam Jones uncorked a dart that reached Wieters in the air.
Wieters had the plate blocked, and he tagged Jeter for the final out.
”Pretty simple,” Jones said. ”Who cares about the cutoff man in that situation? If I one-hopped it or anything like that, he would have been safe.”
Freddy Garcia pitched six innings of two-hit ball for New York and left with a 3-0 lead. He struck out seven and walked two in his second start with the Yankees. The right-hander permitted one runner past second base and retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced.
”I was throwing strikes, changing a lot of speeds,” Garcia said. ”That’s my game. I have to go out there and throw strikes.”
With the score 3-2 in the eighth, the Orioles got runners on the corners with two outs against David Robertson.
Rivera came in to face Luke Scott, who hit an opposite-field liner to left that the speedy Brett Gardner snagged just short of the warning track. In a rare outburst of emotion, a grinning Rivera thrust his right arm upward before walking off the mound.
”It’s a game-saving play is what it is,” Girardi said.
Orioles starter Jake Arrieta gave up three runs, five hits and three walks in six innings. The right-hander had a career-high nine strikeouts.
New York needed only four pitches to take a 2-0 lead. After Jeter singled on Arrieta’s first offering, Granderson hit a 1-1 pitch into the right-field seats, his team-high seventh homer of the season.
Arrieta rebounded from his poor start to keep the Yankees in check until the fifth, when Granderson doubled and scored on a grounder by Rodriguez.
NOTES: Reynolds’ homer ended his 0-for-22 skid. … Roberts stretched his hitting streak to 11 games. … Cano extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and now has hit in 16 straight games against the Orioles.