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Yanks Back Alone Atop AL East

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BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 09: Catcher Matt Wieters #32 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on as Derek Jeter #2 (L) celebrates after driving in Ichiro Suzuki #31 (R) of the New York Yankees on a home run in the eighth inning Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 9, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 09: Catcher Matt Wieters #32 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on as Derek Jeter #2 (L) celebrates after driving in Ichiro Suzuki #31 (R) of the New York Yankees on a home run in the eighth inning Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 9, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer

BALTIMORE (AP) _ The New York Yankees escaped from Camden Yards
with their lead in the AL East intact, and as a bonus, slugger
Curtis Granderson worked his way out of an annoying slump.

Granderson came off the bench to hit his 35th homer and drive in
five runs, and New York beat the Baltimore Orioles 13-3 Sunday to
regain sole possession of first place in the division and earn an
important split of the season series.

Derek Jeter also homered for the Yankees, who lead the Orioles
by one game with 22 left. Each team won twice in a four-game set
that drew 173,572 fans, including 40,346 in the finale.

“The bottom line is we’re in first place,” Yankees manager Joe
Girardi said. “The one thing that you want to be able to do is
just rely on your club. You don’t want to have to rely on other
people.”

Jeter, who had three RBIs and scored twice, said, “We lost a
couple games, but we did battle back. Today was a big one for us.
We have a much-needed day off (Monday), then we go to play Boston.
I like the way we played.”

New York finished 9-9 against Baltimore this season. Had the
Orioles won Sunday, they would have received home-field advantage
in a playoff game if the teams finish tied atop the division.
Baltimore would have also had home-field advantage if the Yankees
and Orioles finish tied for both wild-card berths.

Now, if the teams are tied at the end of the regular season,
record within the division will be the tiebreaker.

“We’ll try to make it not matter,” Orioles manager Buck
Showalter said.

Granderson didn’t start because he was stuck in a 5-for-43 skid.
He entered as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning and hit a solo
shot to put New York up 6-3, then delivered a two-run single in the
seventh to provide the Yankees a five-run cushion.

In the eighth, after Jeter hit a two-run drive off Kevin Gregg,
Granderson doubled in two runs. The five RBIs matched a career
high.

“Any way to try and help the team out,” Granderson said.
“Physically I have felt fine. Who knows what it’s been? Just a
matter of continuing to swing the bat. I’ve been getting good
pitches; I just haven’t been able to do anything with them. Just
baseball being baseball.”

Manager Joe Girardi couldn’t have been happier.

“It would be great to get him going because he has been so
important to our offense,” he said. “For him to come in and get
three hits and knock in five RBIs on a short day is pretty nice.”

Pitching in relief of ineffective starter Freddy Garcia, Joba
Chamberlain (1-0) entered in the fourth and worked 1 2-3 hitless
innings to earn his first win since May 2, 2011. The right-hander
was activated off the disabled list on Aug. 1 following elbow
ligament replacement surgery in June 2011.

Wilson Betemit had two RBIs for the Orioles, who were seeking to
win the season series from New York for the first time since 1997.

The best news of the day for Baltimore, perhaps, was that right
fielder Nick Markakis may not be sidelined as long as anticipated
with a broken left thumb, the result of being hit by a pitch from
CC Sabathia on Saturday. The right fielder was expected to be
sidelined for six weeks, but a surgical procedure Tuesday could
hasten the recovery time.

“September is not an option, so we’ve got to hopefully play
good baseball and make October an option,” Showalter said.

Nate McLouth batted leadoff for Baltimore, going 0 for 2 with
two walks and a stolen base in place of Markakis.

Orioles starter Zach Britton (5-2) allowed five runs, five hits
and five walks in 3 1-3 innings. The left-hander was 4-0 with a
0.94 ERA in his previous four starts.

“I felt like when I commanded the ball in the zone, I got the
outs that I wanted,” Britton said. “So I kind of just beat myself
around today with the walks.”

The Yankees got a first-inning run when Jeter beat out a chopper
to third and scored on a two-out RBI single by Robinson Cano.

New York benefited from four walks in a four-run fourth. After a
single and two walks loaded the bases, Britton walked Steve Pearce
to force in a run. Jayson Nix and Ichiro Suzuki hit RBI singles
before Jeter ended Britton’s outing with a bases-loaded walk. Jake
Arrieta then struck out Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez.

Baltimore answered with three runs in the bottom half. Garcia
walked McLouth and hit J.J. Hardy with a pitch before Betemit
doubled in two runs and Matt Wieters chased Garcia with an RBI
single.

NOTES: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira re-injured his left calf
Saturday night on the final play of the game. An MRI on Monday will
go a long way toward determining how long he will be sidelined. …
The Orioles will recall OF Endy Chavez on Tuesday, Showalter said.
… Suzuki has a 19-game hitting streak at Camden Yards. …
Granderson’s homer was his 100th with New York. … Rodriguez
extended his hitting streak to 13 games, his longest run since an
18-gamer in April 2007. … Swisher went 0 for 4 and is hitless in
his last 28 at-bats, part of a 2-for-43 funk. … Baltimore next
faces Tampa Bay on Tuesday in a three-game series. The third-place
Rays trail the Orioles by one game.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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