O’s beat Sabathia, Yankees, to forge first-place tie in AL East

He may have entered this game with a career mark of 16-3 and 2.97 ERA against the Orioles, but this year CC Sabathia is 0-2 with an ERA of 6.38 vs. the Orioles.

They beat him in come-from-behind fashion, 5-4 tonight, to take two of the first three in this series and once again the clubs are tied for first in the AL East with identical 78-61 records.

The game hung in the balance in the top of the ninth as New York scored once to pull within one with runners on first and third with one out. But with the crowd roaring, Jim Johnson got Mark Teixeira to ground into a 4-6-3 double to play to end the game. Teixeira dove toward the first-base bag but was just out as Johnson hung on to get the save.

Down 2-0 going to the bottom of the second, the Orioles got back-to-back homers from Mark Reynolds and Lew Ford to tie the game. It was Reynolds’ 21st on the year as he continued a homer tear that has seen him hit five in the last five games, nine in nine games and 12 over his past 24 games.

The Orioles took a 3-2 lead on J.J. Hardy’s two-out, RBI double to right in the third. The lead grew to 5-2 in the sixth when Hardy hit a leadoff homer and later Ford plated Adam Jones with a single to right. Ford had two RBIs in his first 17 games this year with the O’s and added two more tonight.

The Orioles have now hit 12 homers in this series, getting three tonight and last night after hitting six on Thursday. The Yankees have hit just three in this series.

New York cut its three-run deficit to 5-3 in the eighth against Pedro Strop, but Brian Matusz came on to get a huge out. He got Curtis Granderson on a foul pop up with two men on base.

Orioles starting pitcher Joe Saunders settled in and kept New York off the board after giving up single runs in the first and second. Saunders went 5 1/3 allowing five hits and two runs. He got the win and is now 2-1 with an ERA of 4.24 over three O’s starts.

The Orioles played half the game without right fielder Nick Markakis who left after being hit by a Sabathia pitch on his left hand in the fifth inning. As of the end of tonight’s game there was no further word provided on Markakis and his status. The MASN cameras showed him in the dugout in the eighth with a soft cast on his left hand/thumb area.

Tonight’s attendance was 46,067 which is the seventh sellout of the season. The series so far has drawn 133,226 to Camden Yards.

The Orioles have now won seven of their last 10, 14 of 20 and 23 of the last 33 games. They would go 3-1 in this series with a win Sunday at 1:35 p.m.

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