Gonzalez escapes jam in fifth to hold lead (O's lose 3-2)

NEW YORK - Miguel Gonzalez threw 92 pitches in the first five innings tonight at Yankee Stadium. Not the most efficient outing, but he continues to hold a 2-1 lead.

Gonzalez walked the No. 9 hitter, David Adams, leading off the bottom of the fifth. Ichiro Suzuki doubled with one out, and the Orioles walked Robinson Cano intentionally with first base open.

Cano was 0-for-2 tonight and 2-for-17 lifetime against Gonzalez, but the walk is pretty much an automatic move.

It also proved to be the correct one.

Travis Hafner got ahead 3-0 before flying to shallow center field, with Adams forced to hold at third base. Vernon Wells fouled out to first baseman Chris Davis, and Gonzalez has escaped the jam.

Troy Patton began to warm in the Orioles' bullpen while Gonzalez labored.

Gonzalez returned for the bottom of the sixth and retired the first two Yankees before walking Chris Stewart. He's allowed one run and four hits, with five walks and four strikeouts. He's up to 104 pitches, 62 for strikes.

The five walks equal Gonzalez's season high on April 12 at Yankee Stadium.

Down on the farm, Tsuyoshi Wada has tossed five scoreless innings for Triple-A Norfolk, with three hits, no walks and three strikeouts.

Update: Patton will pitch the bottom of the seventh inning.

Gonzalez has registered six consecutive quality starts. He's gone at least six innings in seven straight outings, and nine of 10.

Gonzalez has made five starts in the Bronx. He's allowed eight earned runs in 32 2/3 innings for a 2.20 ERA. He's allowed 10 earned runs in 39 2/3 innings for a 2.27 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees, including the postseason.

Update II: Jim Johnson, going for his 102nd career save, blew his sixth this season by issuing a base-loaded walk to Travis Hafner with one out to force in the tying run, and Vernon Wells singled to give the Yankees a 3-2 win before 43,396.

David Adams led off with a single and Johnson mishandled Gardner's bunt for an error. Suzuki laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with one out.

Cano was walked intentionally again to load the bases. Hafner, who was 2-for-4 with a home run lifetime against Johnson, walked on four pitches. Wells lined a single into left field, and the Orioles fell to 48-39 this season.

Patton and Darren O'Day each tossed a scoreless inning.

Yankees starter Ivan Nova went the distance and struck out 11 batters. He retired 23 of the last 25 batters. The Orioles' offense is scuffling, and so is their closer.

Down on the farm, Wada was charged with one run in 6 2/3 innings, with four hits, no walks and six strikeouts. He threw 92 pitches, 67 for strikes.

Adam Russell let an inherited runner score after replacing Wada in the seventh.

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