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With the two-three series format, a road split gives a decided advantage to the team returning home. The Yankees did that, so that's a good thing. A win today would have put the Orioles at the brink of elimination, which would have been a better thing. The Yankees had a chance to do that better thing, but now they'll have to settle for the first two games just being a good thing.
This game seemed winnable. The Orioles certainly did not play crisp, flawless baseball. Neither team played crisp, flawless baseball, with a wet infield contributing to a total of four errors. The Yankees mustered nine hits and two walks, but their hits were scattered and the rallies often came up short, with single runs being scratched across in the first and seventh innings.
Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen looked gettable in the first inning. If not for Robert Andino turning an Alex Rodriguez line drive single into an Alex Rodriguez line drive double play, the Yankees could have put up a crooked number. But if not for Ichiro doing an I don't know what on an ensuing play at the plate, they could have put up a zero.
Andy Pettitte was his usual solid self, displaying emotion, grinding through at bats, and living off of a diet of sawdust and motor oil.1 He pitched seven innings of three run ball before giving way to the bullpen after the first batter reached in the eighth inning. His main hiccup came with the Orioles mounting a two-out two-run rally in the third inning.
The Yankees will head home needing to win a three game home series to advance. After an off day tomorrow, the hopes of the free world will rest on the shoulders of Hiroki Kuroda.
1John Smoltz, TBS