The American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles has essentially become a best-of-three affair that will take place at Yankee Stadium over the next three days.
Baltimore was tied with the Yankees atop the American League East standings 10 times over the final month of the season, but was never able to move ahead of them.
The Orioles again find themselves even with the Yankees in this series after another one-run win in Game 2 on Monday, but now the set shifts to the Bronx, where they were 6-3 this season and won all three of the series there.
"We have a tough task ahead of us, regardless of what has happened in the past," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "There's no backoff in us at all."
After losing Game 1, Baltimore evened the best-of-five set, as Wei-Yin Chen outdueled the winningest postseason pitcher in MLB history, helping the Orioles take a 3-2 win.
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.
Jim Johnson, 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 are 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 were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base. Nick Swisher continued to struggle in those situations and is 1-for-33 with RISP in his postseason career.
"You're in the playoffs; there's going to be good pitching," Jeter said. "We hope to get hits every time there's runners in scoring position, but that's not the case. Those guys have jobs to do, and they're in the position they're in now because they have great pitching."
Baltimore will rely on another rookie on Wednesday, as Miguel Gonzalez takes the hill for Showalter's club.
Gonzalez, who was signed out of the Mexican Winter Leagues and started the season as a reliever, was a pleasant surprise for the Orioles down the stretch, winning his final three starts en route to a 9-4 overall ledger and a 3.25 ERA.
"He can locate his fastball, which is going to give any pitcher a good chance to succeed, and he's been able to improve his offspeed as the year has gone on and really feel like he has four pitches that he can throw at any time and in any count," catcher Matt Wieters said.
He hasn't pitched since holding Tampa Bay scoreless over 6 1/3 innings on Oct. 2. Gonzalez also had some success against Yanks, beating them twice, while pitching to a 2.63 ERA.
New York, meanwhile, will hand the ball to righty Hiroki Kuroda, who was arguably the Yankees' most consistent starter this season, posting a 16-11 mark and a 3.32 ERA.
Kuroda won four of his final five decisions, but is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in two starts versus the Orioles.
The Orioles and Yankees are certainly no strangers to one another and in addition to splitting 18 regular season meetings this season, these teams also met in the 1996 ALCS, a series won by New York, but one that was made famous by the Jeffrey Maier catch.
New York won that series in five games.