In Game 2 of the American League Division Series, the starting pitching for the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles was every bit as good as it was in Game 1. This time around when Orioles manager Buck Showalter called on closer Jim Johnson with the lead he wasn’t going to relinquish it as the Orioles evened up the best of five series at one game apiece with a 3-2 win.
It looked like the Yankees were ready to carry over some momentum from Sunday night’s win with a run in the first on Robinson Cano‘s double scoring Ichiro who had to dance around Orioles catcher Matt Wieters to get to the plate. But Wei-Yin Chen settled down nicely.
The Yankees had their chances going 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and the Bombers left ten men on base in total. But Chen was excellent at getting outs when he needed them. He scattered eight hits and one walk over 6 1/3 innings. The Yankees biggest missed opportunity was in the fourth inning with one out and the bases loaded. Chen got Eduardo Nunez to pop out to short and Derek Jeter grounded into a force out to end the inning.
Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte who was making his record 43rd postseason start, looked to be cruising through the first 8 hitters and then he was reached for two runs as Chris Davis gave the Orioles the lead with a bases loaded single scoring Robert Andino and Nate McLouth. Pettitte was disappointed with his performance in the loss.
“It was a tough game,” Pettitte said. “Obviously the game came down to, I made a mistake to Davis that scored the two runs. I left him a ball right in the middle of the zone, and that was a serious mistake by me in that situation. That pretty much cost us the game.”
Both starters held serve until Pettitte allowed a run in the sixth as Mark Reynolds produced a RBI-single. The Yankees came back with a run of their own in the seventh as Nunez led off the frame with a bloop hit that he turned into double with great hustle. Jeter drove him home with a single to bring the Yankees within one. But, the Orioles middle relief proved to be good again with Darren O’Day and Brian Matusz closing out the frame. They combined for 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief handing the ball off to Johnson who looked more like the dominant closer he was during the regular season than he did on Sunday night. Johnson set the Yankees top of the order down 1-2-3, striking out Alex Rodriguez to end the game.
The teams will travel to New York for a minimum of two games, with Game 3 set for Wednesday night. Hiroki Kuroda will get the call for the Yankees while Miguel Gonzalez will toe the rubber for the Orioles.