Published October 09, 2012
Baltimore, MD – Another one-run game, another win for the Baltimore Orioles.
Wei-Yin Chen outdueled the winningest postseason pitcher in MLB history in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, carrying the Orioles over the New York Yankees, 3-2, to even the best-of-five set.
Chen (1-0) got the better of October stalwart Andy Pettitte as the rookie left-hander allowed two runs -- one earned -- on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.
The Orioles, in a year when they posted the highest winning percentage in major league history in one-run affairs, took advantage of their limited scoring chances against their AL East rival.
Chris Davis knocked in a pair in the third inning and Mark Reynolds added an RBI single in the sixth that proved to be the game-winner.
Jim Johnson, a day after yielding five runs in the ninth inning to take the loss in the series opener, closed out Baltimore's first playoff win at Camden Yards in exactly 15 years.
Pettitte (0-1), whose 43 career postseason starts is more than four times the entire Orioles' staff entering the series, was charged with three runs on seven hits over seven-plus innings.
Derek Jeter went 2-for-5 with an RBI for the Yankees, who will host the remainder of the series as a result of winning the division by two games.
"We have a tough task ahead of us, regardless of what has happened in the past," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, whose club won all three series in New York in the regular season. "There's no backoff in us at all."
Chen, 14 years younger than his 40-year-old counterpart, saw a 3-1 lead trimmed to one on two soft hits in the seventh inning.
Eduardo Nunez hit a blooper into right field and legged out a double after the ball got away from a diving Davis. Jeter followed with a base hit to left, and the fleet-footed Nunez scored without a throw.
Chen was pulled with one on and one out, and Darren O'Day struck out the only hitter he faced -- Alex Rodriguez. Brian Matusz intentionally walked the dangerous Robinson Cano before setting down Nick Swisher on a routine flyout.
Matusz, who made the switch to the bullpen after a demotion during the year, shook off Mark Teixeira's leadoff single in the eighth with a pair of strikeouts and a foul out.
In the ninth, Johnson resembled the closer who recorded a franchise-record 51 saves during the regular season rather than the goat in Sunday's 7-2 setback. The right-hander shut down Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki on groundouts before blowing a 3-2 fastball past Rodriguez to send the home fans into a frenzy.
Game 3 will pit New York's Hiroki Kuroda against fellow righty Miguel Gonzalez on Wednesday.
"It seems like Baltimore and us have been back-and-forth all year, and that's what we've got here," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "We've played very well at home, and we're going to have to continue to do that if we're going to move on."
Robert Andino nearly got Chen out of the first inning unscathed when the second baseman, playing up the middle, snagged a sharp line drive off the bat of Rodriguez and doubled-off Jeter at second.
With Suzuki still at first, Cano doubled off the right-field wall, and the runner was waved home. The relay throw reached Matt Wieters in plenty of time, but it was slightly up the third-base line. Suzuki avoided the catcher's lunging mitt, then ran in a semicircle in the batters box to get his right hand on the plate before a flailing Wieters made the tag.
The Orioles answered with a two-out rally in the third after Pettitte retired the first eight batters he faced. Andino and Nate McLouth each singled, J.J. Hardy worked a four-pitch walk and Davis drove in a pair with a line-drive single to right.
Wieters popped up to leave the bags full after Hardy pulled up at third when Adam Jones dribbled a base hit to left.
The Yankees also played conservatively on the basepaths in the fourth, as Teixeira was held at third on Curtis Granderson's one-out single to center, leaving the bases loaded. Chen worked out of the jam by getting Nunez on a pop up to short and Jeter on a soft bouncer to third.
The eventual winning run came around in the sixth. Wieters found the right- field gap with a leadoff double -- Baltimore's only extra-base hit -- and scored when Reynolds singled past Cano at second base.
The game was delayed by rain for the second straight day, this time by 40 minutes ... The Orioles went 29-9 (.763) in one-run games during the regular season ... Baltimore's staff had nine playoff starts entering the series ... The Orioles won their previous two ALDS appearances in 1996 and '97 ... At 40 years, 3 months, 24 days, Pettitte became the fourth-oldest Yankee to make a postseason start. His 19 wins and 270 innings pitched are the most in postseason history.