Orioles manager Buck Showalter brought in left-hander Brian Matusz to face left-handed hitting Robinson Cano with one out, a runner at first base and the Orioles clinging to a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning.
Or so it seemed.
Cano was 9-for-28 lifetime against Matusz, with a double, two home runs and six strikeouts. Matusz retired him last night on a ground ball.
On deck stood switch-hitting Nick Swisher.
Showalter ordered the intentional walk to Cano after Ichiro Suzuki stole second base. Why? Because Showalter knew that Swisher was 1-for-20 against Matusz, who has emerged as a shutdown lefty specialist.
A wild pitch put runners on second and third, but Matusz retired Swisher on a fly ball.
Inning over. Lead intact.
Matusz has returned for the top of the eighth. And you just know that Jim Johnson wants another crack at the Yankees.
Wei-Yin Chen’s line: 6 1/3 innings, 8 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts. 112 pitches, 77 strikes.
Tonight’s attendance: 48,187, the largest crowd of the year.
Update: The Orioles are still perfect when leading after the seventh inning. And they’re no longer trailing in the American League Division Series.
Jim Johnson atoned for last night’s loss by retiring the Yankees in order in a 3-2 victory that evened the Division Series as it moves to the Bronx for Game 3 on Wednesday.
Johnson needed one pitch to retire Derek Jeter on a ground ball to short. Suzuki bounced to second, Alex Rodriguez struck out and the Orioles had their first home playoff win in 15 years.