The Baltimore Orioles topped the New York Yankees 5-4 last night to move back into a tie with New York for the American League East lead with 23 games left in the season.
Jim Johnson got his 42nd save as he stopped a Yankees rally in the ninth by getting Mark Teixeira, who was playing in his first game since Aug. 27, to hit into a double play with one out.
“There was a lot of emotion,” Johnson said in a televised interview. “You have to battle all 27 and the guys did that. I was just trying to get it down in the zone so [Teixeira] would swing over the top or hit into a double play.”
Mark Reynolds, Lew Ford and J.J. Hardy hit solo home runs for the Orioles (78-61), who have a 2-1 lead in the four-game series at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Derek Jeter scored on Alex Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly in the first inning and Russell Martin reached home on Ichiro Suzuki’s double in the second as the Yankees (78-61) took a 2-0 lead.
Reynolds and Ford hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning, and Hardy hit a run-scoring double in the third and homered in the sixth before Ford sent Adam Jones home on a single.
Rodriguez hit a home run in the eighth and Suzuki scored on Nick Swisher’s grounder in the ninth to come within one run of the Orioles before Teixeira hit into the game-ending double play. Teixeira had missed 10 games with a strained calf.
Joe Saunders (2-1) allowed two runs on five hits and struck out two in 5 1/3 innings for the Orioles, who won their 25th one-run ballgame this season. Johnson gave up one run on three hits in the ninth.
CC Sabathia (13-5) surrendered five runs on eight hits and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings.
Orioles rightfielder Nick Markakis left the game with a broken left thumb after he was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. He will be out for at least six weeks, the team said.
“When it happened I knew it was broken,” said Markakis, who had a cast on his hand. “I couldn’t bend my thumb. The season is going to go on. This is just a tough blow. Now it’s just a matter of healing.”
The Oakland Athletics (78-60), who beat the Seattle Mariners 6-1, Orioles and Yankees are atop the race for the AL wild card spots.
Oriole manager Buck Showalter said Markakis should be back “when we’re deep in the playoffs.”
In the National League, the NL East-leading Washington Nationals defeated the Miami Marlins 7-6 to improve their record to 86-53, the best in the majors. The Atlanta Braves (80-60) and St. Louis Cardinals (74-65) have the top two spots in the NL wild-card race with the Los Angeles Dodgers a half-game back.