Martin’s Late HR, CC Lead Yankees In ALDS Game 1

AP Sports Writer

BALTIMORE (AP) _ CC Sabathia, Russell Martin and the New York
Yankees crashed a party that was 15 years in the making.

Martin led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking home run off
Jim Johnson, Sabathia turned in a sparkling pitching performance
and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 Sunday night in the
opener of their AL divisional series.

Sabathia allowed two runs and eight hits in 8 2-3 innings to
help the Yankees take the edge off the Orioles’ first home playoff
game since 1997. The husky left-hander went 0-2 in three starts
against Baltimore during the regular season, but in this one he
returned to form and improved his lifetime record against the
Orioles to 17-4.

“Fastball command was good, worked off that,” Sabathia said.
“Throwing the ball pretty good getting the corners. Tried to stay
out there and make some pitches.”

Sabathia is 6-1 with the Yankees in the postseason, 4-0 in the
division series.

With the score 2-all, Martin drove a 2-0 pitch from Johnson into
the left-field seats. It was the first of four straight hits off
Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves. Raul Ibanez and Derek
Jeter followed with singles, Ichiro Suzuki drove in a run with a
swinging bunt and one out later, Robinson Cano hit a two-run

In his seven prior appearances against New York, Johnson allowed
one run in seven innings and had three saves. Nick Swisher capped
the five-run ninth with a sacrifice fly off Tommy Hunter.

“It’s tough. It’s just tough going, period,” Orioles manager
Buck Showalter said. “Jimmy has been great for us all year and
will be again. Tonight just wasn’t his night.”

Game 2 will be played Monday night.

The start of the game was delayed by rain for 2 hours, 26
minutes, and that did nothing to lessen the enthusiasm of the
47,841 fans who endured 14 straight losing season while waiting for
the Orioles to play a postseason game at Camden Yards.

For eight innings, the sellout crowd was treated to tense duel
that typified the competition between two division foes that split
18 games during the regular season and finished two games apart in
the standings.

Orioles starter Jason Hammel allowed two runs, four hits and
four walks in 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander underwent knee
surgery in July and returned to pitch two games in September before
his right knee began to bother him again. After working his way
back into form, Hammel donned a knee brace and gave Baltimore a
solid 112-pitch outing in his first start in nearly a month.

New York missed an excellent chance to take the lead in the
seventh. After Troy Patton walked Martin and Ibanez, Darren O’Day
entered and Jeter dropped down a perfect two-strike sacrifice bunt.
With the infield drawn in, Suzuki hit a sharp grounder to second
baseman Robert Andino, who threw home. Matt Wieters grabbed the
ball on the short hop and tagged out Martin. O’Day then struck out
Alex Rodriguez.

Neither team got a runner in scoring position again until J.J.
Hardy started the Baltimore eighth with a double. He did not

Immediately after Orioles fans cheered and waved their orange
towels following a first-pitch strike by Hammel to open the game,
the Yankees went to work. Jeter hit a leadoff single and Suzuki
followed with an RBI double into the gap in left-center. But Suzuki
was thrown out trying to steal third, and Hammel settled down by
striking out Rodriguez and retiring Cano on a broken-bat fly to

Sabathia retired the first six batters he faced without allowing
a ball out of the infield, then ran into trouble in the third
inning. Chris Davis led off with a single, Lew Ford singled and
both runners moved up on a bunt before Nate McLouth bounced a
two-run single into right field for a 2-1 lead.

New York promptly tied it in the fourth, but another potential
big inning was short-circuited when a runner was thrown out on the
basepaths. After Hammel walked two of the first three batters, Mark
Teixeira ripped a liner off the right-field scoreboard. The hit
brought home a run, but Teixeira _ who only recently returned from
a strained left calf _ was thrown out at second by Davis. That left
Swisher at third base with two outs, and after an intentional walk
to Curtis Granderson, Martin hit a fly to center.

Singles by Davis and Andino put runners at the corners with one
out in the fifth before McLouth looked at a third strike and Hardy
grounded out.

NOTES: Andy Pettitte will bring 42 games of playoff experience
into Game 2 on Monday night as the starting pitcher for the
Yankees. Orioles rookie Wei-Yin Chen will be making his postseason
debut. … Wieters went 0 for 4 against Sabathia and now is 5 for
28 (.179) lifetime against him. … In 16 career division series
openers, Jeter is batting .448 (26 for 58) and reached base in 15
games. … Suzuki has at least one hit in 10 of his 11 career
postseason games and has reached base in all of them. He’s also hit
in 20 straight games at Camden Yards, a streak that began in 2008.

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


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