(Sports Network) - The Baltimore Orioles have been the worst team in the American League all season. Today, though, the Orioles will have a chance to do something against the best team in baseball that they haven't done in more than 24 years, as they try and complete a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
The Orioles, who have won in just four of their previous 21 visits to the Bronx, last swept the Yankees in a three-game series there back in June of 1986. Baltimore has taken the first two games of this set, including a rare win over CC Sabathia on Tuesday. Nolan Reimold hit a two-run home run and Adam Jones had a key two-run single to back the solid pitching of Jake Arrieta in the Orioles' 6-2 triumph.
Nick Markakis and Ty Wigginton each had a pair of hits, scored once and drove in a run for the Birds, who have won four straight over Tampa Bay and New York, the top two teams in the AL East.
Baltimore is 21-13 since Buck Showalter took over the club in August and hasn't won five in a row since June 17-21, 2009, all against interleague opponents.
Arrieta (5-6) earned the win after holding the hosts to two runs on eight hits while walking only one and striking out three for Baltimore.
"The opportunities don't come around that often. Everybody is watching and as an athlete you want to be on center stage and perform well while you're there," Arrieta said when asked about the team's recent success against potentially playoff bound teams."
Sabathia (19-6), meanwhile, was charged with six runs -- five earned -- on nine hits with a walk and five strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings to suffer his first loss at home since July 2, 2009 for the Yankees, who saw their lead trimmed to 1 1/2 games in the AL East over Tampa Bay, which defeated Boston at Fenway Park.
"They were just aggressive, swinging early and it took my aggressiveness away," said Sabathia, who also lost for the first time in nine starts to the O's. "We tried to mix it up early in the count but I wasn't able to get my secondary pitches over for strikes. They got some balls to hit and didn't miss them."
Hoping to get the Yankees off the schneid this afternoon will be right-handed rookie Ivan Nova, who is 1-0 in his four starts with a 2.89 earned run average. Nova made his Yankee Stadium debut on Friday against Toronto, but did not get a decision as he allowed three runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings of his team's 7-3 win.
Nova, who will be facing the O's for the first time, has yet to get out of the sixth inning in any of his starts, but New York's bullpen has been terrific of late. Since July 26 Yankee relievers have pitched to a 1.54 ERA and have allowed only one run in the club's last seven games, a span of 20 1/3 innings.
Baltimore will counter with right-hander Brad Bergesen, who has allowed three or fewer runs in six of his last seven starts and has worked at least seven innings in five of those outings. However, he was charged with the loss on Thursday against Boston, which reached him for five runs (two earned) and eight hits in 5 1/3 frames, dropping him to 6-10 to go along with a 5.47 ERA.
Bergesen lost to the Yankees back on June 2 when he could not get out of the third inning and is 0-2 in two starts against them with a 10.38 ERA.
New York has won 10 of its 14 matchups with the O's this season.