The New York Yankees reclaimed sole possession of the American League East lead on three homers yielding seven runs in their 8-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
The Yankees (78-60) are one game ahead of the Orioles (77-61) in the AL East and tied at 1-1 in the teams’ four-game series which continues tonight at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles and Oakland Athletics (77-60), who beat the Seattle Mariners 6-1, hold the top two spots in the AL wild-card race.
In the National League, the Washington Nationals, with the best record of 85-53 in Major League Baseball, lost 9-7 to the Miami Marlins last night. The Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals top the NL wild-card standings.
Russell Martin had a three-run homer followed by Steve Pearce’s two-run blast in the fourth inning off Oriole starter Wei-Yin Chen last night. Alex Rodriguez added two more runs with his 645th career homer and 300th as a Yankee in the fifth.
“I had no idea I had 300,” Rodriguez told reporters. “The only numbers we’re worried about right now is W’s. Whatever you are going to do for the year is already done. The numbers are done. We’re worried about one thing and that’s winning games.”
Rodriguez became the sixth to reach 300 home runs as a Yankee, joining Babe Ruth (659), Mickey Mantle (536), Lou Gehrig (493), Joe DiMaggio (361) and Yogi Berra (358), according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Derek Jeter’s run-scoring single in the ninth capped the Yankees’ win.
‘It Was Huge’
“It was huge,” Rodriguez said, referring to the win. “Every game from now on is huge, especially when you get to September. One of the challenges I have for the offense is that we should be able to score six runs every night. If we’re disciplined and put up great at-bats, six runs is a good number.”
The Yankees and Orioles each have 24 games left before the season ends Oct. 3.
The Orioles, down 7-0, got three runs off Adam Jones’s homer in the sixth inning and two more off Robert Andino’s homer in the seventh. Manny Machado capped the scoring with a home run in the ninth.
Phil Hughes (14-12) allowed three runs on six hits and struck out five in six innings for the win.
“I treated it like any other game. I tried to pitch the best ball game I could,” Hughes said when asked if he felt pressured pitching in a pennant race. “That doesn’t really change start to start. It was a good win for us.”
Chen (12-9) was pulled after 4 2/3 innings when he surrendered seven runs on six hits.
“Actually I feel real good today,” Chen told reporters through an interpreter. “I wasn’t able to attack the strike zone like in the late innings, and that was the problem. This is the Yankees, and I made a couple of mistakes and they made me pay the price.”