Orioles edge Yankees for share of first in AL East

BALTIMORE 5 N.Y. YANKEES 4

The Orioles continued their long-ball onslaught against the Yankees, hitting three home runs off CC Sabathia in a 5-4 victory Saturday night that moved Baltimore back into a tie atop the AL East with New York.

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Mark Reynolds, Lew Ford and J.J. Hardy homered for the Orioles, who have won 11 of 15 overall and nine of the last 13 against the Yankees. With a victory Sunday, Baltimore will win the season series (10-8) for the first time since 1997.

Trying to secure a victory for Joe Saunders (2-1), Baltimore closer Jim Johnson entered with a 5-3 lead in the ninth. He promptly gave up three straight singles, the last a bunt by Derek Jeter, to load the bases with no outs.

Nick Swisher drove in a run with a forceout. Johnson then went to 3-0 on Mark Teixeira, who was playing for the first time in 11 games after being sidelined with a calf injury. On a 3-2 pitch, Teixeira hit a grounder to second that turned into a game-ending double play in spite of Teixeira's desperate slide into first.

That gave Johnson his 42nd save, improved Baltimore's record in one-run games to 25-7 and delighted Orioles fans in the sellout crowd of 46,067.

Baltimore has hit 12 home runs, three by Reynolds, in the first three games of a four-game showdown that concludes today.

But it might have been a costly win. Orioles leadoff hitter Nick Markakis was struck in the left hand by a pitch from Sabathia in the fifth inning and immediately left for a pinch runner. The team offered no word on his condition, but Markakis was wearing a splint while watching from the dugout in the late innings.

Coming off a victory Friday night, New York was seeking its first winning streak since mid-August.

The Yankees have now gone 22 straight games without successive victories.

Sabathia (13-5) gave up five runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. The three homers he allowed were a season high, and the lefthander has now yielded a career-high 21 for the year.

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