Every remaining game should be treated like the postseason for the playoff-hopeful New York Yankees and they'll try to take a series lead from the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday in the third test of a four-game set.
The Yankees were in late-October form in Tuesday's 7-5 come-from-behind win thanks to veteran Alfonso Soriano. Soriano and Mark Reynolds both homered in the sixth inning to make it a 4-3 game, then Soriano clubbed a two-run homer during a four-run eighth inning.
Soriano was acquired by the Yankees in July and went on a tear with 18 RBI from Aug. 13-16. He is batting only .218 in his last 14 games, but has six homers, 11 runs scored, 12 hits and 18 RBI over that stretch.
"He's been a good player for a long time. It's a good pickup for them," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Soriano.
Alex Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, and is bothered by a tight left hamstring. The third baseman said he felt tightness in his leg while running the bases in the eighth inning and could be used as the designated hitter Wednesday.
"We need to keep him in there, so we'll figure something out," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Girardi is already without veteran shortstop Derek Jeter and he hasn't played since re-injuring his left ankle on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox. There is no definite timetable for his return, so the Yankees acquired infielder Brendan Ryan from the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday for a player to be named.
Yankees starter Ivan Nova did not receive a decision in the second installment of this series and allowed four runs in six innings. Adam Warren held the O's scoreless in the seventh for the win, Shawn Kelley allowed a run and got two outs in the eighth before closer Mariano Rivera went the rest of the way for his 42nd save.
New York, which is two games off the final playoff spot in the American League and 1-1 on a 10-game road trip, turns to Andy Pettitte Wednesday and the left-hander is 3-0 in his last six starts. He has recorded two straight no-decisions and allowed three runs in six innings of Friday's 12-8 loss to the Red Sox.
Pettitte owns a 10-9 record in 26 starts to go along with a 4.03 ERA. He will try to improve that mark against an Orioles club he has owned the past few years. Pettitte is 8-0 with a 2.99 ERA in his last 12 starts against Baltimore, dating back to the 2007 campaign. He is 16-2 in this series since 2002 and 28-6 overall with a 3.52 ERA in 44 career games (42 starts).
The lefty has the second-most wins all-time versus the Orioles since their move to Baltimore back in 1954, behind only Whitey Ford (30 wins). Pettitte has made 24 appearances (23 starts) on the road against the Orioles, going 16-4 with a 4.11 ERA.
Baltimore will look to cure its woes against Pettitte and remain in the hunt for a wild card berth. The Orioles and Cleveland Indians are 1 1/2 games off the final wild card spot in the AL, while Baltimore had won four of five games entering Tuesday's tilt with the Yanks.
Chris Davis hit his Major League-leading 49th home run of the season, a two- run shot in a four-run fifth inning. Davis' homer was his 27th at Oriole Park this year, tying Frank Robinson's club record for home runs at home in a single season set in 1966. Robinson also finished with 49 that year, one shy of Brady Anderson's franchise mark in 1996.
Davis needs one more double to become the first player in Orioles history to hit 40 doubles and 40 homers in the same season. Davis is also a home run shy of tying Anderson's club mark.
J.J. Hardy had two hits and a run scored in a losing cause.
Miguel Gonzalez started for the O's and did not figure into the decision, as he yielded three runs and six hits in six innings. Gonzalez was victimized by home runs from Soriano and Reynolds in the sixth inning and Kevin Gausman was saddled with the loss, giving up three more runs, including Soriano's two-run shot in the eighth.
"The flood gates kind of opened right there," Gausman said afterward. "You can definitely feel it kind of take some wind out of us, but hopefully tomorrow we can bounce back."
The Orioles hope to bounce back with Scott Feldman scheduled to take the mound Wednesday. Feldman was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the middle of the summer and has made 11 starts for the Orioles, posting a 5-4 mark to go along with a 3.63 ERA. Feldman, who was 7-6 in 15 starts with the Cubs, is 3-1 in his past four decisions and tossed a five-hit shutout in Friday's 4-0 win over the Chicago White Sox.
Feldman threw seven innings of one-run ball in a 2-0 loss at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 31 and is 3-4 with a 4.15 ERA in nine career games, seven of which have been starts, against New York.
The Orioles are 9-8 against the Yankees this season.