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Yankees, O's kick off series in Baltimore

On the heels of a historic offensive display the New York game series with the Baltimore Orioles this evening at Camden Yards.

The Yankees trailed Oakland 7-1 after three innings on Thursday, but rallied behind a major league record three grand slams to post a 22-9 win, thus avoiding a three-game sweep at the hands of the hapless Athletics.

Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson all homered with the bases loaded Thursday to make the Yankees the first team in major league history to hit three grand slams in one game.

Cano hit his grand slam in the fifth inning, Martin got his in the sixth and Granderson knocked a 94 mph fastball from Bruce Billings into the bullpen in the eighth inning to set the mark.

"Pretty crazy," said New York manager Joe Girardi.

Martin also had a solo homer in the fourth inning and went 5-for-5 with six RBI for the Yankees, who came to bat 16 times with the bases loaded. New York, which had 21 hits in the game and batted around in the last four innings, remained a game behind the Red Sox, who won at Texas Thursday night.

The game, delayed 89 minutes at the start because of rain, took 4 hours and 31 minutes to play. Things got so out of hand that Jorge Posada played second base for the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth and recorded the last out on a ground ball.

Hoping for similar support tonight, A.J. Burnett will try to put yet another awful outing behind him this evening when he takes the hill.

Since June 29 Burnett is a mere 1-6 with a 6.93 earned run average. That rough stretch coupled with the fact that he is coming off the worst statistical season ever by a Yankees starter has put his spot in the rotation in jeopardy.

Burnett didn't help himself any on Saturday in Minnesota, as the Twins battered him for seven runs and five hits in just 1 2/3 innings. Upon being taken out of the game, Burnett appeared to have words with Girardi, who vehemently denied that after the game.

"Everyone always seems to want to blow up about A.J.," Girardi said. "Nothing happened between me and A.J. I went and looked at the pitch. And I'm tired of it. I'm tired of people looking for something between me and A.J."

Still, Burnett fell to 9-10 to go along with a 4.96 ERA. With Freddy Garcia expected back from the disabled list on Saturday, Burnett could be the odd-man out.

"Yeah, it's upsetting, it's frustrating," Burnett said. "You want to come out and set the tone as a starter. Obviously, I didn't do that, but I will be better. I know that."

Burnett, though, has had some success against the O's, going 12-5 with a 4.53 ERA in 20 starts.

Baltimore comes into this set on a bit of a roll after a four-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins that culminated with a 6-1 win on Thursday. Mark Reynolds clubbed a three-run home run while Craig Tatum hit a two-run double for the Orioles, who had dropped five straight prior to this series.

"Tatum had a good game for us and everyone else was making contributions out there this whole series," said Baltimore manager Buck Showalter. "It was a good couple of days out here for us."

Jo-Jo Reyes (7-10) pitched six innings for the win as he gave up just one run on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts.

The Orioles, whose staff ERA of 4.80 is the worst in baseball, allowed just four runs in the four-game set.

Baltimore will pin its hopes on righty Tommy Hunter, who is 2-2 with a 4.95 ERA. Hunter did not get a decision on Saturday in Anaheim, but was not sharp, as he allowed six runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 9-8 loss.

"It just [stinks]," Hunter said afterward. "There's no other word you can really put to it. When your team goes out and they fight for you, it's tough to be on the [losing end].

Hunter has faced the Yankees three times (two starts) and is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA.

These teams will play a day/night doubleheader on Saturday and could be forced to play another twinbill on Monday with Hurricane Irene expected to wreak havoc on Sunday.

The Yankees have won nine of their 10 meetings with the O's this season, including all four games played in Baltimore.