The New York Yankees' ALDS opponent was decided on Friday night as the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Texas Rangers by a score of 5-1 in Arlington, Texas. The Yankees will travel to Baltimore Sunday evening to start the best-of-five series.
The early part of the game was controlled by the starting pitchers. Joe Saunders, a controversial choice to start for Baltimore given his 0-6 career record in Arlington, gave up only one run over 5 2/3 innings. Yu Darvish matched Saunders' early performance through five, giving up only a first-inning run on a Michael Young error. The Orioles were able to add single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to chase Darvish and stake a 3-1 lead.
The Rangers put closer Joe Nathan in the game to pitch the ninth and try to preserve an opportunity for a comeback. However, Baltimore rallied for two runs off Nathan to break the game open. Meanwhile, the Orioles' bullpen would continue the stellar pitching they've been getting all season, as Darren O'Day, Brian Matusz, and Jim Johnson pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings. The Rangers would load the bases off Johnson in the bottom of the ninth, but David Murphy flied out to Nate McLouth to end the game.
The Orioles are making their first playoff appearance since 1997 and surprised the baseball world by chasing the Yankees for the division title until the last series of the season. The two teams split the season series, 9-9. CC Sabathia will take the mound for the Yankees to open the series on Sunday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.