BALTIMORE (Reuters) - Baltimore rookie pitcher Chen Wei-yin outdueled postseason maestro Andy Pettitte to guide the Orioles to a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Monday and tie their American League Division Series at one game each.
Chen gave up eight hits over 6 1/3 innings while surrendering two runs, only one of them earned, on a chilly night in front of more than 48,000 raucous fans at Camden Yards.
The 27-year-old Chen changed the speeds on his pitches to keep the Yankees off-balance.
“His fastball, it seems to get on hitters quicker than what the speed indicates, and that’s one of his strengths,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
“He threw some good off‑speed pitches when he was behind in the count, as well.”
Relievers Darren O‘Day and Brian Matusz protected the lead for Chen before closer Jim Johnson came in for the ninth inning to slam the door on the Yankees.
“Today I just kept the ball down and lowered my pitch count,” Chen, a native of Taiwan, said through an interpreter. “The only thing I wanted was just keep pitching, keep pitching. I don’t want to think too much.”
A two-run single by Chris Davis in the third inning and a run-scoring base-hit by Mark Reynolds in the sixth provided the offense for the Orioles, who were 29-9 in one-run games during the regular season, a Major League record.
Pettitte, who holds the Major League Baseball record for postseason wins with 19, gave up seven hits and three runs over seven innings and took the loss.
Robinson Cano had a run-scoring double and Derek Jeter an RBI single for the Yankees, who had nine hits but left 10 men on base.
The best-of-five series now shifts to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with Game Three set for Wednesday. New York and Baltimore have split the 20 games they have played this season.
”The biggest thing for us is we feel comfortable playing in New York,“ said Davis. ”Obviously it’s going to be a little different atmosphere with playoff baseball.
“As long as we can continue to do what we’ve done all year and really just focus on our goals and our expectations, we’ll be all right.”
On Wednesday, the Yankees will start Hiroki Kuroda (16-11, 3.32 earned run average), while the Orioles will counter with Miguel Gonzalez (9-4, 3.25 ERA).
”We’ve played very well at home, and we’re going to have to continue to do that if we’re going to move on,“ said Girardi. ”It seems like Baltimore and us have went back and forth all year.
“Whoever pitches the best and scores in their opportunities is really what’s going to make the difference.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford