With the New York Yankees heading into Wednesday night's game with the Baltimore Orioles just two games back in the American League Wild Card chase, a win over Baltimore would allow the Yankees to jump the Orioles and Cleveland Indians in the standings.
With the Yankees desperately trying to get to October baseball, it was only fitting that they had Andy Pettitte on the mound for them. The 41-year-old is the all-time leader in Major League Baseball history with playoff wins with 19.
In the top of the first, the Yankees got going against Orioles starter Scott Feldman, who walked Brett Gardner to start the game, made it to third and Robinson Cano's RBI groundout drove in Gardner and gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Pettitte was cruising through the first couple of innings, but ran into a little bit of trouble in the bottom of the third inning by allowing two-out hits to Brian Roberts and Manny Machado, then allowed a two-run double to Chris Davis, which allowed Baltimore to take a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, J.J. Hardy's RBI double scored Danny Valencia to give Baltimore a 3-1 lead, but that was all the Orioles would get off Pettitte for the remainder of the game, as the 41-year-old left-hander kept his team in the game.
In the top of the fifth inning, Curtis Granderson hit a towering solo shot onto Eutaw Street that pulled the Yankees within on and made the score 3-2. The home run was just Granderson's fifth of the season.
In the top of the sixth inning, Alex Rodriguez drilled a solo home run off Feldman to the right field seats that tied the game at 3-3 and got Pettitte off the losing side of the game. The home run was A-Rod's sixth home run of the season and his 653rd career home run, just seven away from Willie Mays.
Pettitte continued to pitch well deep into the game for the Yankees and was taken out of the game in the seventh inning by Joe Girardi; as he went 6.1 innings, allowed three runs on nine hits, walked one and struck out three. Pettitte would get a third-straight no decision, but for the sixth straight start, he gave the Yankees another solid outing and went at least six innings in a start.
Feldman also pitched very well for the Orioles too, as he went 7.2 innings, allowed three runs on three hits, walked two and struck out six and just like Pettitte, got a no decision and left it into the hands of the bullpen.
In the top of the ninth, it was the Yankees who got the big hit needed, as Robinson Cano crushed his 27th home run of the season, a solo shot off Baltimore reliever Tommy Hunter that made it 4-3. Later in the inning, after Curtis Granderson hit a triple over Adam Jones' head in center field, Lyle Overbay continued to give the Yankees more clutch hitting with an RBI infield single that pushed the Yankees lead out to 5-3.
In the ninth inning came Mariano Rivera, who got the first two outs of the inning, but that's where things got interesting. Nate McLouth doubled to keep the game alive and then Brian Roberts hits an RBI single to make it 5-4. The RBI single by Overbay plays huge with that run scored, otherwise it would have been a blown save.
In the next at-bat, Rivera got Manny Machado to strike out swinging to end the game and the potential threat by the Orioles, as the Yankees won 5-4. David Robertson got the win in his return from the team from a minor shoulder injury and went to 5-1 on the year, Hunter took the loss and droipped to 4-4, while Rivera got his 43rd save of the season.
With the win, the Yankees leap over both the Orioles and Indians in the Wild Card race, as they are now 78-68 and when the game ended, they were 1.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card spot.
In Thursday's series finale, Phil Hughes (4-13, 5.11 ERA) will look to secure the series win for the Yankees as he will face Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 3.82 ERA.)
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