Baltimore, MD – J.J. Hardy, Mark Reynolds and Lew Ford hit solo homers to help the Baltimore Orioles hold off the New York Yankees, 5-4, in the third test of a key four-game series at Camden Yards.
Hardy and Ford ended with two RBI apiece for the Orioles, who moved back into a tie with the Yankees for first place in the AL East.
Baltimore starter Joe Saunders (2-1) allowed two runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win. Jim Johnson picked up his 42nd save of the season, but it didn't come easy.
Holding a 5-3 lead, Johnson took over on the mound in the ninth. Ichiro Suzuki and Eric Chavez singled to left before Derek Jeter's bunt single loaded the bases with no outs. Nick Swisher plated a run when he grounded into a fielder's choice. Mark Teixeira, who returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a strained left calf, hit a grounder to second that turned into a game-ending double play. Teixeira appeared to be safe as he slid into first, leading to frustration for New York.
"Sometimes you wonder if the umpires are just trying to get out of there," Teixeira said. "They don't want you to make a comeback. They want to go home, because those are terrible calls."
The news was not all good for the Orioles. Nick Markakis suffered a broken left thumb when he took a CC Sabathia off his hand. He is expected to be out for about six weeks.
"I knew it was broken. I knew it as soon as he hit it," Markakis said. "I knew how it hit me and I couldn't bend my thumb."
Alex Rodriguez hit a solo homer and knocked in two runs for the Yankees, who have lost seven of their last 10 games. Swisher and Suzuki had an RBI apiece.
CC Sabathia (13-5) gave up five runs on eight hits while striking out five over 6 1/3 innings. He fell to 16-4 lifetime against the O's.
The Yankees got on the board in the first inning after Jeter singled, moved to third on Teixeira's double and scored on Rodriguez's sacrifice fly.
New York tacked on another run in the second to make it a 2-0 game. Russell Martin walked and raced home on Suzuki's one-out double to center.
Reynolds and Ford responded with back-to-back solo homers in the bottom half to tie the game.
Baltimore never looked back after taking the lead in the third. Markakis singled, advanced to second on Robert Andino's groundout and scored on Hardy's double to right.
The Orioles tacked on two more runs in the sixth. Hardy led off with a homer to left. Adam Jones followed with a double and crossed the plate on Ford's single to right.
Rodriguez homered off Pedro Strop in the eighth to make it a 5-3 contest. The Yankees left runners on the corners later in the inning.
The Orioles lead the season series by a 9-8 margin ... Saunders has faced the Yankees six times and is 3-1 ... Reynolds has seven home runs against the Yankees this year ... New York activated pitcher Ivan Nova from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday.