Game 5 live blog: One game to decide who goes to the ALCS

Tonight’s live blog: Welcome to the final live blog of this series. Yes, it’s Game 5 and the winner will go to the American League Championship Series. The Orioles have been there nine times, but not since 1997.

As always, check back here throughout the game for the latest news, notes and reader comments. Keep them coming all game long.

It’s Hammel against CC: Jason Hammel is 0-1 with a 3.74 ERA in four starts this year against New York. But his ERA was 4.91 the first two times he faced them and is 2.53 in the last two. Those games were on Sept. 6 in Baltimore and in Game 1 at Camden Yards.

Lew Ford has been in the lineup against CC Sabathia twice this year, getting two hits each time. When Sabathia started Sept. 8 against the Orioles, Ford went 2-for-3 with a homer and RBI single. In Game 1 of this series, Ford went 2-for-4 with a single and double. Yes, a small sample size, but yes, also a .571 average and the reason Ford is the DH tonight instead of Jim Thome, who is 4-for-31 vs. Sabathia.

Here are the career numbers for tonight’s O’s lineup against Sabathia:

* Nate McLouth is 2-for-8 with a two-run single in Game 1.
* J.J. Hardy is 8-for-21 (.381) with four doubles, a homer and four RBIs.
* Adam Jones is 14-for-45 (.311) with two doubles, a triple, three homers, 10 RBIs and .967 OPS.
* Chris Davis is 2-for-6 (.333).
* Matt Wieters is 5-for-28 (.179) with one homer and one RBI.
* Manny Machado is 0-for-7.
* Mark Reynolds is 3-for-13 (.231) with a homer and three RBIs.
* Ford is 11-for-43 (.256) with two homers and four RBIs.
* Robert Andino is 9-for-25 (.360) with a homer and three RBIs.

Sabathia gave up nine runs over two starts against the Orioles and Rays on Sept. 8 and 14. But, in four starts since, counting Game 1, he is 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA and has pitched eight or more innings each time.

Hammel (8-6, 3.43 ERA) is making just his third start since right knee surgery in mid-July. He gave up just two runs over 5 2/3 innings in Game 1. In 10 road starts this year, he is 4-4 with a 3.43 ERA and five quality starts.

So how are you feeling as game time approaches? How do you feel about Hammel starting and today’s lineup? What is your take on Game 5?

That was fast: Hope you didn’t blink and miss the first three innings as Hammel retired nine in a row on 37 pitches and Sabathia did the same on 37 pitches. Yes, dead even on the scoreboard and the pitch count right now.

Sabathia looks to have a good slider going tonight that the O’s are going to have to try and avoid chasing down in the zone. Easy to say and much, much harder to do.

New York gets the lead in fifth: The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Mark Teixeira led off with a single for their first hit. It appeared the Orioles weren’t holding him on first base and he was able to steal second. The next hitter, Raul Ibanez, hit an RBI single to center for his third RBI of the series. The O’s will have to play from behind today as they head to the sixth down 1-0.

A foul ball?: After seeing multiple replays, while I would like to be able to say the umpires got the call wrong on the McLouth deep fly ball down the right-field line, I don’t think they did in ruling it a foul ball. It was, for me anyway, impossible to tell if it nicked the pole. Didn’t look like it. What did you think?

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