NEW YORK - Let’s first get the fun facts out of the way.
The Orioles improved to 37-29 on the road, 28-21 vs. the American League East, 25-13 in day games and 11-5 in the rubber game of a series.
The six road wins in the Bronx are the most since they went 8-1 at the original Yankee Stadium in 1976.
Mark Reynolds became only the second Orioles player with more than one multi-homer game in a series against the Yankees, joining Doug DeCinces, who hit two on May 25 and 27, 1981 at Memorial Stadium.
Reynolds is batting .320 with five doubles, eight homers and 17 RBIs in 23 games since Aug. 6.
Nick Markakis was 6-for-12 with three RBIs in the series and is batting .343 with five homers, 26 RBIs and 30 runs since coming off the disabled list and moving atop the order.
Matt Wieters set an Orioles record by hitting safely in his 14th straight game against the Yankees to start a season, surpassing Cal Ripken Jr. According to Elias, the only other player in franchise history with a longer such streak was Charlie Hemphill, who hit safely in 18 straight with the St. Louis Browns against the Yankees to begin the 1907 season.
The only downer was Chris Tillman exiting after three innings with discomfort in his right elbow.
“He described it and said his elbow felt kind of dead,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I’m not real sure about pain or anything. He had been so consistent with his velocity early in the game and you could tell early on that he was really laboring. I talked to him after the third inning and didn’t like what I was seeing. Hopefully, it was just a one-time thing. He’s still 20-something innings short of his career high, so his innings were in good shape.
“We were fortunate to have (Randy) Wolf in there to get things back in order. It was huge. So were the innings from (Luis) Ayala, (Brian) Matusz and Darren (O’Day). Wolf coming in and bringing some calmness, or whatever you want to call it, to the game there was big.”
Tillman is headed back to Baltimore tonight and will undergo an MRI on his elbow.
“It’s normal,” Showalter said. “Guys go through a little bit of elbow or dead arm, but I thought at first, he’s had some shin-splint issues. The wear and tear on pitchers, he’s still 20-something innings away from his high.
“If you know Chris, if there’s something bothering him, it’s hard to tell. He’s so competitive and I know that he felt really bad and he would have kept going. He said, ‘I think I can keep going. It’s not really hurting. It just feels like nothing is coming out.’”
Reynolds is rewarding Showalter’s faith in him.
“Mark, through thick and thin, has been a good teammate,” Showalter said. “He’s worked hard. When he’s struggled offensively, he’s gone out there to see how good he can be defensively. The Baltimore Orioles winning means a lot to Mark. It does. You can tell.
“He talked to me earlier in the year about being with Arizona in the playoffs and what it was like. He wants to be a part of that.”
The Orioles have registered six wins in a place that’s been tough on them in the past. Very, very tough.
“It’s a tough place to play because they’re good players and they’re a good team,” Showalter said. “They spend their money wisely. That has to do with the competition. It doesn’t have to do, necessarily, with our lack of effort or anything. Hopefully, we’re finding that we’re becoming a little better. They’ve been the measuring stick for a long time.”
Wolf made his sixth career relief appearance today and earned the victory by holding the Yankees to one run in 3 1/3 innings after relieving Tillman to start the fourth.
“They let me know that I was coming in the next inning,” Wolf said. “I tried to get ready fast, but they told me that I was going to have as many as I needed, so that was some comfort. But at the end of the inning, I was ready to go. I took more than eight pitches when I got out there, but I was warm and read to go. It’s a totally different warm-up, but my body was loose and I was ready.”
Wolf hadn’t pitched since Aug. 19. Asked how he felt, he smiled and said, “Rusty.”
“It’s been a couple weeks. There’s different adrenaline that comes when you come out of the bullpen. You come into a game that’s already going. You know the situation and you just try to keep us in the game. And luckily, we were able to score some big runs and have some good bullpen behind me.
“I don’t know if I get nervous. You get that adrenaline and your blood going and your heart’s going, but I don’t know that I’d say I get nervous. It was different. It was definitely different being out there as a reliever. Luckily, I’ve done it a few times, so it’s not completely foreign, but I always thought pitching is pitching, no matter what part of the game you come in. The main thing is to throw strikes.”
It’s also a rush to join a team in a pennant race.
“That’s the most exciting thing about coming to this team,” he said. “I’ve said it a few times already, I think we’re the best team that nobody talks about. There’s a lot of teams that are in the playoff hunt that people are talking about, but this team just finds a way to win and that’s exciting. I’ve been part of teams that just find ways to win.
“The one thing I’ve noticed in the short time I’ve been here is this team has a lot of confidence in itself and that’s really fun to be around. A team that’s confident and gets that taste of what it needs to win.”