Orioles, Yankees enter series going in opposite directions (Sep 14, 2017)

BY AP • September 14, 2017

NEW YORK -- Since Manny Machado hit a game-winning home run against Dellin Betances on Sept. 5 at Camden Yards, things are trending differently for the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees going into a four-game series that starts Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.

Machado homered off Betances to give Baltimore a 7-6 win in that game. When the ball landed, the Orioles were one game behind the Los Angeles Angels for the second American League wild card. It was Baltimore's 10th win in 13 games.

After a rainout on Sept. 6, the Yankees handed the Orioles an 9-1 loss on Sept. 7, starting a 1-6 stretch for Baltimore and a 5-2 week for New York.

The Orioles enter the series trailing five teams for the second wild-card spot currently occupied by the Twins. Baltimore (72-74) is 4 1/2 games behind Minnesota.

Baltimore snapped its six-game skid Wednesday with a 2-1 win at Toronto when Adam Jones and Trey Mancini produced run-scoring hits.

"That was very big," Mancini said. "At this point in the year, there's not many games left, so you want to win every single one. Today was a good start to try and get that rolling."

Despite winning Wednesday, Baltimore is struggling since Machado's homer. In the past seven games, the Orioles have scored 12 runs while batting .204 (42-for-206), and several key hitters are slumping.

Machado is 5-for-27 (.186) since homering off Betances. Chris Davis is 3-for-22 (.136) in the past seven games, as is Mark Trumbo.

Besides the successful week, New York is 9-4 in its past 13 games since getting swept in a three-game series Aug. 28-30 by the Cleveland Indians.

New York (79-66) is three games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox. The Yankees also hold a three-game lead over Minnesota for the first wild-card spot.

The Yankees concluded a 6-3 road trip with a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday at Citi Field. New York manager Joe Girardi made liberal use of his bullpen by pulling Jaime Garcia one out shy of qualifying for a win.

"The major goal is to help the team win," said Garcia, who gave up a run and five hits.

Girardi did the same thing Monday in a 5-1 win with CC Sabathia pitching, and he likely would do it again at some point in this series if the Yankees hold a lead in a close game.

"This is all about winning games now," Girardi said. "This is not about numbers or when you pitch. It's when we need you, that's when we need you and do your job."

New York's Masahiro Tanaka (11-11, 4.82 ERA) will take the mound Thursday looking to rebound from one of his worst outings in a while. After holding the Red Sox to an unearned run in seven innings on Sept. 2, Tanaka lasted just four innings and allowed seven runs and eight hits on Friday in an 11-5 loss at Texas.

Tanaka is 4-3 with a 3.65 ERA in his past nine starts after pitching to a 5.47 ERA in his first 18 outings.

In two starts against the Orioles this season, he is 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA, with both starts occurring in Baltimore.

In a 5-4 loss on April 8, Tanaka allowed three runs in five innings during a no-decision. In a 10-4 loss on May 31, he allowed seven runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Tanaka is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA in seven career outings against the Orioles, whose current roster is hitting .225 (32-for-142) against him. Baltimore's best hitters against Tanaka are Seth Smith .357 (5-for-14) and Jones .333 (6-for-18). Machado and Davis are 4-for-20 and 4-for-18, respectively.

Wade Miley (8-12, 4.96 ERA) gets the nod for Baltimore after dropping his past two starts. Miley went 5-1 from July 30 to Aug. 27 but has allowed six runs and 10 hits over 11 2/3 innings in losses to the Blue Jays and the Indians.

Miley was on the losing end of one of Cleveland's 19 shutouts when he allowed four runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 5-0 loss on Friday.

Miley owns no-decisions from two early-season starts against the Yankees. In a 7-3 loss on April 9, he allowed one hit but walked seven in five scoreless innings. During Baltimore's 7-4 win at New York on April 30, Miley allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings.

Lifetime against the Yankees, Miley is 0-3 with a 4.83 ERA in nine starts. One of his starts was for the Red Sox, when he pitched in a 19-inning game on April 10, 2015, in New York.

The Yankees lead the season series 9-6. They totaled 64 runs in their first five home wins vs. Baltimore, including 38 in a three-game sweep June 9-11.

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