Baltimore, MD – Russell Martin sparked a five-run ninth inning with a leadoff home run as the New York Yankees topped the Baltimore Orioles, 7-2, in Game 1 of their American League Division Series at Camden Yards.
Ichiro Suzuki added a run-scoring single in the ninth and finished with two RBI, while Robinson Cano also knocked in a pair of runs for the Yankees.
CC Sabathia (1-0) allowed the two runs on eight hits and a walk with seven strikeouts over 8 2/3 innings in the win. He had been 0-2 in three starts against the Orioles this season.
"I wish I could tell you I changed my game plan but I didn't. I pitched to my strengths," Sabathia said. "These guys know what I'm trying to do, I've faced them a lot. I was just able to execute tonight."
Jim Johnson (0-1) surrendered all five runs -- four earned -- in the ninth to take the loss for Baltimore, which was coming off a 5-1 victory over the Texas Rangers in the AL's one-game wild card playoff.
Jason Hammel made his first start since Sept. 11 for the Orioles and allowed two runs on four hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings.
"That was probable the difference with us being in the ballgame, Jason pitching real well," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Johnson took the mound for the ninth inning with the score knotted at 2-2 and Martin hammered the third pitch the reliever threw over the left-field wall to break the tie.
Raul Ibanez and Derek Jeter followed with singles to place runners on the corners, and pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez raced home on Suzuki's infield single on a dribbler to the right side.
After Alex Rodriguez struck out, Cano ripped a double to left field to plate Jeter and Suzuki. J.J. Hardy's throwing error on the play allowed Cano to move to third, and Nick Swisher capped the rally with a sacrifice fly to center field.
"It was a really good game, a well-pitched game on both sides and we were fortunate enough to get to a very, very good closer tonight. Our guys put some good at-bats on him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Sabathia then retired the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth before Lew Ford slapped a double to right-center field, ending Sabathia's bid for his first career postseason complete game.
David Robertson entered next and fanned pinch-hitter Ryan Flaherty to end the game.
The Yankees weren't phased by a nearly 2 1/2 hour rain delay at the start of the game as they jumped out to an early lead when Jeter opened the contest with a base hit up the middle and rounded the bases the next batter when Suzuki, who was making his first playoff appearance since 2001 with the Seattle Mariners, doubled into the left-center field gap.
Hammel would limit the damage there, though, as Suzuki was thrown out trying to steal third before Rodriguez struck out and Cano flied out to right field.
Baltimore answered with a pair of runs in the third inning to go on top after Chris Davis and Ford led off the frame with back-to-back singles and advanced to second and third on a Robert Andino sacrifice bunt.
Nate McLouth followed with a single through the right side of the infield to plate Davis and Ford for a 2-1 advantage.
But New York was able to knot the game in its next at-bat as Rodriguez worked a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a Cano grounder to first and scored on Mark Teixeira's liner off the right-field wall.
Teixeira was thrown out at second on the play while trying to stretch the hit into a double, and Swisher, who walked prior to Teixeira's hit, would later be stranded at third when Martin flied out to center field.
The Yankees seemed poised to retake the lead in the seventh after Martin and Ibanez worked consecutive walks off Troy Patton to start the inning and each advanced a bag on Jeter's sacrifice bunt off new pitcher Darren O'Day.
Suzuki then hit a grounder to second that Andino fielded and threw home, allowing Matt Wieters to easily apply the tag on a sliding Martin.
Ibanez moved to third on the hit, but was stranded there as Rodriguez went down swinging on a 2-2 fastball to end the threat.
Baltimore, meanwhile, would strand a man on third in the fifth inning and a man on second in the sixth before Sabathia worked around a leadoff double by Hardy in the eighth to keep the game tied at 2-2.
Sabathia has 35 career complete games in the regular season. He threw 80 of his 120 pitches for strikes ... The AL East foes split 18 regular-season meetings this year ... Baltimore hit 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base ... The Yankees went 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight.