Facing off against Sabathia was Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who has always given the Yankees offense fits in the past.
Sabathia and Gonzalez remained scoreless for the first three innings, tossing up zeroes through each inning, but in the top of the fourth inning, MVP candidate Chris Davis got the Orioles on the board first with an RBI single to put the Orioles up 1-0.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Alfonso Soriano continued his hot hitting for the Yankees as he hit his 29th home run of the season; a two-run shot off Gonzalez that put the Yankees up 2-1.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Orioles got the lead back when Danny Valencia hit a two-run shot to the left field seats off Sabathia and Baltimore went back up 3-2. Later on in the inning, Manny Machado's RBI single made it 4-2.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Yankees continued to bail Sabathia out as Mark Reynolds' RBI double scored Curtis Granderson and made it 4-3. Later in the inning, Ichiro Suzuki's two-run home run gave the Yankees the lead again, which made it 5-4. The home run was Ichiro's seventh home run of the season.
Later in the inning, the returning Robinson Cano hit a two-run single that made it 7-4. Cano was day-to-day after being plunked on the hand earlier in the week by Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ and suffered a hand contusion, but was able to play for the Yankees on Friday night after sitting out a couple of days to rest the hand.
Gonzalez never made it out of the fifth inning, as he went just four innings for the Orioles while allowing seven runs on six hits, walked three and didn't record a strike out and really struggled against the Yankees, who were able to be patient on him and get solid hits against the right-hander.
In the top of the sixth inning, Orioles' Nick Markakis' RBI single made it 7-5; which lead to Yankees manager Joe Girardi to lift Sabathia out of the game while the team still had the lead. The Yankees ace went 5.2 innings, allowed five runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out four. On most nights, it's not a great start, but he left with the lead because his offense gave him a lot of run support.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Alex Rodriguez' tacked on the Yankees lead by hitting an RBI single to score Cano and made the game 8-5. Mariano Rivera came in to close out the game in a scoreless ninth inning and preserved the Yankees win as they defeated the Orioles 8-5 in the first of three games at Yankee Stadium.
Despite struggling, Sabathia got the win for the Yankees, as he improved to 12-11 on the season. Gonzalez took the loss, which dropped him to 8-7; Rivera picked up his 39th save of the season.
On Saturday, Ivan Nova (7-4, 3,14 ERA) will look to get the Yankees into third place by continuing to pitch well as he will go up against Orioles starter Scott Feldman (11-9, 3.87 ERA.)
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