NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Baltimore Orioles staved off postseason elimination with a 2-1 win over the New York Yankees after 13 innings on Thursday to force a deciding Game Five in their American League Division Series.
Baltimore’s 20-year-old rookie Manny Machado sliced a liner over the head of second baseman Robinson Cano for a double to lead off the 13th, and one out later came home on a booming double to left-center by J.J. Hardy for the game-winning run off Yankees reliever David Phelps.
The Yankees went down in order in their half of the 13th with Orioles’ reliever Jim Johnson getting Eric Chavez, pinch-hitting for Alex Rodriguez, to line out to third baseman Machado to end the four-and-a-half hour game.
The AL East rivals had battled to the end of the six-month regular season campaign to settle the division title and have split 22 encounters this season.
The Yankees came out on top after 12 innings in Game Three on Wednesday, but the Orioles hit back in 13 to tie the best-of-five series at 2-2.
“As good a team as they are, it’s an honor to be in Game Five with them,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “You knew all along that the road to where we want to try to get is going to have to pass through here.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said going to a Game Five against Baltimore seemed inevitable.
“It’s been a fight to stay ahead of this club the whole year, and it’s pretty fitting,” said Girardi, whose club clinched the AL East title and home field advantage on the last day of the season and left Baltimore as a wildcard team.
The winning run ended six tense, scoreless innings after the Yankees tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth on a ground out by Cano that scored Derek Jeter, who led off the inning with a double.
Baltimore scored the first run of the game on a home run leading off the fifth by Nate McLouth.
Both teams used eight pitchers, with Baltimore starter Joe Saunders and New York’s Phil Hughes matching strong performances before turning the game over to the bullpens.
The Orioles had eight hits in the game, while the Yankees managed seven.
Baltimore’s Pedro Strop went two innings to register the win, and closer Johnson got the save. New York reliever David Phelps took the loss.
“I think there’s really good pitching,” Girardi said about the lack of runs in the series. “There’s guys on the other side that are struggling, too. It’s been really hard to come by hits.”
The winner of Friday’s game will advance to the best-of-seven American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers with a berth in the World Series at stake.
Baltimore, playing in the postseason for the first time in 15 years, will start Jason Hammel against New York’s CC Sabathia in the decider at Yankee Stadium.
Editing by Peter Rutherford