(Sports Network) - A pair of American League East rivals continue a series that's been rather one-sided as of late tonight at New York's Yankee Stadium, where the defending world champion Yankees set their sights on a seventh consecutive victory over the lowly Baltimore Orioles.
After dropping a 5-4 decision to the Orioles at Camden Yards back on April 27 in the first meeting between these teams this season, the Yankees have defeated Baltimore six straight times. New York swept a three-game series from the Birds in the Bronx from May 3-5 and also took last night's opener of this three-game set, in large part due to a costly Orioles' error in the seventh inning.
With two men on and the game tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez hit a two-out bouncer to Baltimore third baseman Miguel Tejada, who one-hopped the throw to first and the ball skipped past teammate Ty Wigginton. Both Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher scored on the play, giving New York the deciding runs in an eventual 3-1 win.
Tejada's error made a winner out of Javier Vazquez (4-5), with the Yankees starter holding Baltimore to one run and four hits while striking out seven over the first seven innings. Mariano Rivera finished up with a scoreless ninth for his 11th save of the year.
Curtis Granderson hit his first home run since April 7 -- a stretch of 81 at- bats -- and Robinson Cano extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a 2- for-4 effort for New York, which has now won three in a row and improved to 4-1 on its current seven-game homestand.
Brian Matusz (2-6) was stuck with the hard-luck loss, with the rookie starter being charged with all three Yankees runs -- two of which were unearned due to Tejada's miscue. He yielded just six hits and fanned five before exiting after 6 2/3 innings.
"I slowed everything down [Tuesday], worked on some mechanical things and got back to throwing the way I should," Matusz said afterward. "I felt good out there [Tuesday] and was able to make pitches at the right times."
Corey Patterson accounted for Baltimore's lone run with a solo homer off Vazquez in the top of the sixth.
The Orioles have now lost six consecutive contests and fell to an MLB-worst 15-37 on the season. Baltimore also owns the worst road record in the majors at 6-23 and have been dealt defeats in six straight and 10 of its last 11 as the visitor.
The Orioles haven't had much success at the new Yankee Stadium as well, having won just two of 13 matchups with New York since the venue opened last season. The Yankees are also 19-4 in the past 23 overall encounters between the clubs.
The task doesn't figure to be any easier for Baltimore tonight, with Phil Hughes set to take the mound for the Bronx Bombers. The young right-hander has been sensational over the season's first two months, having amassed a 6-1 record and a 2.70 earned run average in nine starts. In four Yankee Stadium assignments in 2010, Hughes has gone 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA and his team has won each of those games.