Chen, Johnson help Orioles down Yankees, even ALDS series
Baltimore, MD, United States (4E Sports) – Rookie starter Wei-Yin Chen tossed 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball and closer Jim Johnson put the memory of a disastrous Game 1 meltdown behind with a perfect ninth to help the Baltimore Orioles tie the American League Division Series with a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees Monday at Camden Yards.
Chen (1-0) surrendered eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts, holding his own against veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte (0-1), who allowed three earned runs on seven hits in seven innings.
Johnson, who gave up five runs in the ninth inning of Game 1, forced Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki to groundouts and struck out Alex Rodriguez for his first postseason save.
Right fielder Chris Davis provided the offense for the Orioles, delivering a key two-out two-RBI single in the third and Mark Reynolds added an RBI single in the sixth frame to back up Chen.
“You definitely don’t want to go into New York in a five-game series down two games,” Davis said. “This is big. We’ll have the day off [Tuesday] and hopefully build up the momentum and take it into New York.”
The rest of the series will be played in New York starting Wednesday. Hiroki Kuroda will start for the Yankees while Miguel Gonzales will take the ball for the Orioles.
“They’ve been resilient all year, there’s no doubt about it, the team that we’re facing,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I don’t expect it’s going to change much, but only time will tell.”
The Yankees jumped on Chen for a first-inning run behind a spectacular play by Ichiro, who eluded Matt Wieters’ tag twice before touching home plate.
Baltimore answered when Davis hit Pettitte’s slider into right field for a two-run single, giving the Orioles the lead that they would not relinquish.
The Orioles added another run against Pettitte when Reynolds drove a ground-ball single that scored Wieters for a 3-1 lead.
The Yankees inched closer with an RBI single by Jeter in the seventh against Chen but were limited to just one hit by Darren O’Day and Brian Matusz. Johnson then sealed the win with a scoreless ninth.
In his league-leading 43rd playoff start, Pettitte struck out five to move into sole possession of second place on the all-time postseason strikeout list behind John Smoltz (199). Pettitte entered the game tied with former teammate Roger Clemens (173).
“I thought he pitched a really, really good game,” Girardi said of Pettitte. “I thought he had really good command of his fastball, his curveball — really all of his pitches. The one inning they got to him, I thought they put some decent at-bats on him.”