Tuesday, July 31, 2012

O's Top Yanks in Series Opener, 5-4

NEW YORK -- The Yankees hit three home runs off Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, but that power display wasn't enough to avert a 5-4 defeat on Monday at Yankee Stadium, marking the Bronx Bombers' third consecutive loss.

Yankees starter Freddy Garcia permitted three runs over six innings, but the Orioles added two key runs in the seventh charged to reliever Boone Logan, winning for the third time in their four games played in the Bronx this season.

Back-to-back seventh-inning homers by Eric Chavez and Ichiro Suzuki off Gonzalez -- Ichiro's first home run in pinstripes, and the 100th of his career -- closed the deficit, but the Yankees couldn't push a final run across. Raul Ibanez slugged a fifth-inning solo homer for the Yankees, who have now lost seven of their last 10 games dating back to a troublesome West Coast road trip last week.

Garcia wasn't exactly sharp, tying his season high with nine hits allowed, but he managed to hold Baltimore to Wilson Betemit's home run in the third inning -- his 12th -- and two fifth-inning sacrifice flies off the bats of Omar Quintanilla and Nick Markakis. Markakis delivered a big run-scoring double with two outs in the seventh off Logan, and J.J. Hardy greeted David Phelps by ripping a run-scoring single down the right-field line that eluded Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees had some concern about Teixeira's wrist after that play, and though he stayed in the game after being examined by head athletic trainer Steve Donohue, Teixeira was removed by the eighth inning. Making his first career start against the Yankees and his fifth big league start, Gonzalez held New York to four runs and six hits over 6 2/3 innings. Chavez knocked home Ibanez with a run-scoring single in the second inning, but Gonzalez settled in and was touched thereafter only by the three long balls.

He walked none and struck out a career-high eight, with a balk. With Baltimore's victory, the Yankees fell to 27-14 over the last two years in contests facing an opposing starting pitcher for the first time, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau.

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