Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) – Freddy Garcia returned from the disabled list and pitched six strong innings, and Nick Swisher clubbed a two-run homer, as the New York Yankees topped Baltimore, 3-2, to conclude a four-game series.
Garcia (11-7), who hadn’t pitched since August 7 due to a lacerated right index finger, allowed just two hits, including a solo homer to Mark Reynolds, and had four strikeouts. Garcia won his fourth straight decision.
Mariano Rivera retired the side in order in the ninth for his 34th save of the year.
The Yankees won despite playing without shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez, and moved within 1 1/2 games of the Red Sox for first place in the AL East. The Yankees start a three-game series in Boston Tuesday.
Rodriguez was sent back to New York on Monday for an MRI on his jammed left thumb, while Jeter sat out due to a bruised right knee.
J.J. Hardy also went deep for the Orioles, who have lost two in a row since a six-game winning streak.
Alfredo Simon (4-7) had six strikeouts over seven innings, but lost for the third time in his last four decisions.
The teams split a day/night doubleheader Sunday due to Hurricane Irene, and in the series finale, the Yankees scored in the opening inning. Curtis Granderson walked with one out and Mark Teixeira doubled to the right field corner for his 100th RBI of the season.
Robinson Cano singled ahead of Swisher’s blast to right field in the fourth inning for a 3-0 difference. Six of Swisher’s last eight hits have been home runs.
After allowing a first-inning double to Adam Jones, Garcia set down 11 straight hitters until Reynolds homered to left field.
Garcia didn’t give up a hit in the sixth and Rafael Soriano fanned the final two men of the seventh.
David Robertson, who had not allowed a run over his last 12 appearances and a homer over his previous 71 outings, surrendered one to left to Hardy on an 0-2 pitch in the eighth inning. In fact, it was his first run given up on the road all season.
Nick Markakis walked and stole second with two outs, but Jones fanned to end the frame.