The American League East-leading Baltimore Orioles will pay a visit to Yankee Stadium on Friday to open a three-game series with the New York Yankees.
After losing three in a row, the Orioles won consecutive games against Boston and took the series with Thursday's 3-2 victory. Adam Jones, who has hit safely in all nine games including six multi-hit games, drove in the game- tying run in the fifth inning and later knocked in the go-ahead run in the seventh. Chris Davis belted his major league-leading sixth home run and also leads the majors with 19 RBI.
"I don't think our guys feel like one guy's got to do it, and that's a good mentality to have," skipper Buck Showalter said. "Someone else is going to pick them up. I don't think anyone feels like they're carrying the load."
The victory marked the Orioles' fifth consecutive series win at Fenway Park and as a result, they are now tied with the Red Sox atop the division standings.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were rained out in Cleveland on both Wednesday and Thursday night. Winners of three in a row, they are within a half-game of the division lead. New York will play 19 of its next 32 games at home.
The Yankees on Friday will turn to ace C.C. Sabathia, who looked like the usual Sabathia at Detroit on Sunday when he tossed seven shutout innings and yielded only four hits. No Tigers baserunner reached third base. It was a marked improvement from his first outing, in which he lasted only five innings after giving up four runs on eight hits to go along with four walks.
"He pitched really good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after Sunday's game. "He threw other stuff in fastball counts, made good pitches, 3-2 changeups, backdoor breaking balls. He pitched really good."
Despite the recent rainouts, Sabathia is taking his normal turn in the rotation. He has gone 16-4 with a 3.12 ERA in his career against Baltimore.
For Baltimore, right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will look to notch his second win in as many tries to start the season. Gonzalez was sharp in his first outing at Tampa Bay last Thursday, as he allowed two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory.
Last year, the Orioles trailed New York by as many as 10 games before rallying down the stretch to tied it up with three to play. They faced off in a tight division series and, of course, it was Sabathia who pitched to victory in the deciding fifth game.