Bronx, NY – Eric Chavez's two-run homer backed Hiroki Kuroda's solid start and gave the New York Yankees a series-opening 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Kuroda (2-3) limited Baltimore to one run on four hits and one walk over his seven-inning performance, while David Robertson and Mariano Rivera each hurled a scoreless inning of relief to finish off New York's third win in four games.
The Orioles, riding a 6-1 stretch coming in, wasted a solid effort from Jason Hammel (3-1), who took his first loss despite allowing only two runs on five hits over six frames.
Adam Jones scored the Orioles' only run in the second inning, as he led off with a walk, advanced to third on Matt Wieters' double off the right-field wall and raced in on Chris Davis' long fly ball to the warning track in left.
Eduardo Nunez, making his first career start in left field because of injuries to Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher, crashed into the wall making the catch on Davis' sacrifice fly.
The Yankees responded with the only two runs they needed in their half. Mark Teixeira began the inning with a single that narrowly stayed fair down the first-base line, and two batters later Chavez crushed his third home run of the season into the bullpen beyond the wall in right-center.
"It was a two-seam sinker. ... It started down the middle of the plate and didn't move too much. It was right down the middle, so [Chavez] hit a homer off of it," Hammel said.
Both starters settled in and worked out of trouble late in their outings.
Hammel wiggled out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth by getting Raul Ibanez to ground into a double play, and Kuroda stranded a pair in scoring position an inning later with the help of a lucky bounce.
A wild pitch put Nick Markakis on third and Wieters on second with one away, and after striking out Davis, Kuroda threw a 1-0 pitch in the dirt that got away from Russell Martin. The ball caromed just to the left of the catcher, and Martin recovered fast enough to shovel the ball from his knees to Kuroda, who blocked the plate and tagged out the head-first sliding Markakis.
Robertson struck out the side in the eighth, and Rivera earned his fifth save by shaking off a one-out single and getting Markakis to hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
"There's so many guys that are just overmatched by [Robertson's] fastball. It's just a luxury to have a guy like that in the eighth inning to set you up for [Rivera]," Martin said.
The Yankees swept the Orioles in Baltimore earlier this year...Orioles manager Buck Showalter was trying for win No. 1,000 for his career...Orioles leadoff hitter Nolan Reimold went 0-for-4 to snap a 14-game hitting streak...Chavez's home run was the only extra-base hit in the game...The middle test of this three-game set will pit Baltimore's Brian Matusz against New York's Phil Hughes on Tuesday...Game time: 2:22.