Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano hit solo home runs to help the New York Yankees defeat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 and move within a game of one of the two American League wild-card playoff spots.
The Yankees (78-68) jumped a half-game ahead of the Orioles and Cleveland Indians (both 77-68) in the wild-card chase, and now are one game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second of the berths given to non-division-winning teams in each league. The Texas Rangers (81-64) hold the first slot.
While the Yankees have won three of their past four games, Texas lost 7-5 to the Pittsburgh Pirates last night for their sixth defeat in seven. Tampa Bay has one win in six games after a 7-3 loss in 10 innings to the Boston Red Sox last night.
“This group fights,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “They’re continuing to fight.”
Chris Davis had a two-run double as the Orioles took a 2-1 lead in the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Davis, who leads Major League Baseball with 49 homers this year, became the first player in franchise history to have 40 home runs and 40 doubles in a season.
Granderson hit a home run in the fifth and Rodriguez homered in the sixth to tie the game. Rodriguez recorded his 653rd home run and needs seven more to match the 660 hit by Willie Mays -- who is fourth on the MLB career list -- and earn a $6 million bonus.
Cano’s homer in the ninth off Tommy Hunter (4-4) gave the Yankees a 4-3 advantage and New York added a run on Granderson’s triple and Lyle Overbay’s infield single.
David Robertson (5-1) got the win and Mariano Rivera got his 43rd save despite giving up a run in the bottom half of the ninth as the Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the four-game series that ends today.
“We control our own destiny, we control our situation,” said the Orioles’ Adam Jones. “The rest of the way we’re playing against teams that are in the same situation as us, so we’ve got to play better baseball. That’s the cool part. We’ve just got to play a little bit better.”