Wei-Yin Chen threw 35 pitches over the first three innings tonight and allowed only one baserunner, on Alex Rodriguez’s leadoff single in the top of the second.
The momentum, shall we say, shifted in the fourth inning.
Chen hit Nick Swisher, who vowed to celebrate excessively after the pain subsided, and walked Robinson Cano on four pitches. Rodriguez struck out on a 91 mph fastball, but Chen served up a three-run homer to Russell Martin and a two-run shot to former Oriole Steve Pearce.
Yankees 5, Orioles 0.
Chen threw five straight fastballs to strike out Rodriguez. He threw a changeup, a 90 mph fastball and another changeup to Martin, who found the left-field seats to break a scoreless tie. Pearce jumped on the first pitch he saw, a 91 mph fastball after Andruw Jones singled, for his first Yankees home run.
Left fielder Nate McLouth briefly argued fan interference, but replays showed that he just missed the ball as he leaped at the fence.
Chen threw 24 pitches in the inning, raising his total to 59.
Steve Johnson was warming in the Orioles bullpen in the fifth inning.
Chen has allowed 24 homers this season, including six in his last four starts and eight in his last six.
The Orioles put runners on second and third with one out in the first inning and didn’t score. They wasted a two-out single by Manny Machado in the second and a two-out infield hit by McLouth in the third.
McLouth is 2-for-2, giving him seven hits in his last 20 at-bats. Machado has 12 hits in his last 30 at-bats.
The Orioles really want this game tonight with CC Sabathia waiting for them Saturday. Sabathia is 16-3 with a 2.97 ERA in 24 career starts against them.
Update: Chen was removed after Rodriguez’s two-run homer in the fifth, his 300th as a Yankee.
Chen tied his career high (U.S.) by allowing seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. He also did it against the Royals on Aug. 9. The three home runs matched his career high against the Angels on July 8.
Chen gave up six hits, walked one, struck out four and hit a batter. He threw 68 pitches, 43 for strikes.
Working on an extra days rest didn’t do anything for Chen tonight.
Johnson, making his first appearance since Aug. 29, retired Martin on a fly ball.
Update II: The Orioles have made it interesting.
Adam Jones hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning, depositing the ball into the visiting bullpen to reduce New York’s lead to 7-3.
Jones has 29 homers this season, three in the last three games and five in the last 11.
J.J. Hardy reached on a Nick Swisher error and McLouth doubled, making him 3-for-3 tonight and 8-for-21. Jones followed with another big swing.
Can the momentum shift again?
Update III: Robert Andino hit his second home run in two nights, and the Orioles have crept to within 7-4 in the seventh inning.
Andino has homered in back-to-back games three times in his career, most recently May 6-7, 2012.
The Orioles have hit 26 homers against the Yankees in 2012, their highest total against New York in any season.
Tonight’s attendance: 40,861.
Update IV: Steve Johnson was outstanding in relief of Chen, surrendering one hit and striking out three in three scoreless innings. He threw 38 pitches, 29 for strikes.
Johnson held down the Yankees and allowed the Orioles to get back into this game.
Brian Matusz replaced Johnson and struck out Curtis Granderson.
Matusz is excelling in his new role.
Down on the farm, Kevin Gausman started Game 3 for Double-A Bowie in the Eastern League playoffs and shut out Erie on two hits over three innings, with no walks and five strikeouts. He threw 43 pitches, 31 for strikes.
Update V: Derek Jeter had an RBI single off Luis Ayala in the top of the ninth inning and Manny Machado homered off Rafael Soriano with two outs in the bottom half to complete the scoring in New York’s 8-5 victory over the Orioles, who fell one game back in the American League East.
The last Yankees’ run was charged to Matusz, who gave up a one-out single to Ichiro Suzuki. Ayala has let 21 of 42 inherited runners score.
McLouth made a leaping catch at the left-field fence to rob Swisher of a home run.
Machado has four home runs this season.
The Orioles are 8-57 when trailing after the seventh inning and 67-34 when they hit a home run.