The Baltimore Orioles evened up their American League Division Series on Monday night with a 3-2 win over the New York Yankees.
The Bronx Bombers took an early 1-0 lead, but O's starter Wei-Yin Chen settled in after that to pitch his team to a Game 2 win. Chen, not accustomed to pitching in an MLB-type playoff atmosphere, looked a little rattled in the top of the first and the Yankees jumped on him.
Derek Jeter led off the game with a single and quickly moved to second on an error by Mark Reynolds after Ichiro put one in play. Chen was picked up by an Alex Rodrigeuz lineout that resulted in Jeter being doubled off second. But Robinson Cano stepped in and ensured that the Yanks would get on the board first, roping a double down the right field line that scored Ichiro from first.
The veteran outfielder had to put on a nifty move at home plate to avoid a Matt Wieters tag, however, and he successfully navigated his way around the batter's box for the first run of the game. An animated gif of the play at the plate:
But Chen would settle in from there, and Baltimore would reel off three unanswered runs to take the lead against Andy Pettitte. The first rally came in the bottom of the third, and the damage was done with two outs. Pettitte retired the first two batters of the inning, but back-to-back singles by Robert Andino and Nate McLouth started the rally. A walk by J.J. Hardy loaded them up for Chris Davis, and he took a Pettitte offering to right to score two and give Baltimore a lead they would not relinquish.
The O's added a crucial insurance run three innings later with a quick strike and left Pettitte enraged. Wieters led off the inning with a shot to right that put him on second. Mark Reynolds, who was simply trying to move him over, sent a softly hit ball through the gap on the right side to score Wieters and provide a two-run lead.
It didn't take long for the Yanks to cut the lead in half, and they responded with a run of their own in the very next half inning, chasing Chen. Eduardo Nunez, who was Joe Girardi's DH, put his head down and hustled out a double to lead off the top of the seventh. One batter later, Jeter would bring the speedster home on a single to left field.
But that would be it for the Yankees, as the Orioles' bullpen held on to preserve the one-run win. Brian Matusz came on in the seventh keep the damage at just one, stranding Ichiro on third. Jim Johnson, who was rocked on Sunday night, worked through a perfect ninth inning for his first postseason save.
With the series now even, the Yankees will turn to Hiroki Kuroda in Game 3 on Wednesday night. Buck Showalter will counter with Miguel Gonzalez.