Facing an 0-2 deficit in the American League Division Series with a loss tonight, the Orioles recieved a gutty effort from Wei-Yin Chen and a save from Jim Johnson as they beat the Yankees 3-2 in front of 48,187 to even the ALDS at 1-1.
Pitching a night after giving up five runs in the ninth in Game 1, Johnson got Derek Jeter to ground out on the first pitch of the ninth. He then got Ichiro Suzuki on a ground out and Alex Rodriguez on a swinging strikeout to end it to send the towel-waving Camden Yards crowd into a frenzy.
It was quite a bounce-back effort for the major league saves leader.
After Tuesday’s travel day, the series resumes in New York with Games 3 and 4 Wednesday and Thursday and Game 5, if necessary, on Friday.
Chen was working for the first time since last Monday and this year, when he had pitched with six days or more rest as he did tonight, he was 1-1 with a 2.28 ERA in the regular season.
Chen stranded two Yankees runners in the third and the bases loaded with just one out in the fourth. He had a pair of 1-2-3 innings but allowed only two runs (one earned) on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings, throwing a season-high 112 pitches.
The three O’s starters in this postseason have allowed just four earned runs over 17 2/3 innings for a 2.04 ERA.
Brian Matusz came on and did another outstanding job for the Orioles, getting the last out of the seventh and pitching a shutout eighth.
New York took a 1-0 lead in the first when Suzuki scored on a Robinson Cano double. He avoided the tag of Matt Wieters, who had the ball in time but missed an elusive Suzuki, who passed home plate, but came back to just get his hand past Wieters second tag attempt.
A Chris Davis two-run single gave the Orioles the 2-1 lead in the third and they made it 3-1 on a Mark Reynolds RBI single in the sixth. New York closed to 3-2 on Jeter’s run-scoring single an inning later.
The Orioles were able to tag a loss on Andy Pettitte, a pitcher with a career mark of 27-6 against them who was 7-0 with an ERA of 2.87 over his last 10 starts vs. the Orioles.
After going 29-9 in one-run games this year, the Orioles pulled it out by the slimmest of margins once again and now they are all even against the Yankees.