Needing a win to keep their season going and a run to end several games of offensive frustration, the Orioles got both tonight. J.J. Hardy’s RBI double in the top of the 13th inning lifted the Orioles to a 2-1 win over the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Division Series.
The series is now tied 2-2 and the teams play the decisive Game 5 on Friday at 5:07 p.m. with the winner advancing to the American League Championship Series.
As they came to bat in the 13th, the Orioles hadn’t scored a run or even had a runner in scoring position since the fifth inning. But Manny Machado doubled to right-center off David Phelps leading off the frame. He advanced to third on Nate McLouth’s groundout and scored on Hardy’s double.
The O’s shortstop was just 2-for-17 in the series. The Orioles were 0-for-7 tonight and 0-for-12 the past two games with runners in scoring position until Hardy’s clutch hit.
McLouth’s homer to right in the fifth gave the O’s a 1-0 lead that lasted just until the last of the sixth when Derek Jeter doubled and scored on a Robinson Cano groundout.
The Orioles’ pitching was outstanding again tonight. The Yankees were held to just seven hits and went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Starter Joe Saunders went 5 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits and one run. In two postseason games - with the O’s facing elimination in each - he gave up just two runs with an ERA of 1.59.
Orioles starters have pitched to an ERA of 1.78 in five postseason games, allowing two earned runs or fewer in each.
In five postseason games the Orioles pitchers have allowed 14 total runs with a team ERA of 2.12.
The pitching has been so good that the Orioles have scored just nine runs in this series, yet they can win it with a victory on Friday.
The bullpen was outstanding after that, as Tommy Hunter, Troy Patton, Luis Ayala, Brian Matusz, Darren O’Day, Pedro Strop and Jim Johnson kept New York off the board for a combined 7 1/3 innings.
Strop pitched two innings to get the win and Johnson got a save a night after giving up his second ninth-inning homer of the series.