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Defense the Difference in Yankee Win

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By HOWIE RUMBERG AP Sports Writer=

 
NEW YORK (AP) _ The Yankees turned a triple play at home for the first time in 45 years, Adam Jones dropped Vernon Wells’ fly ball while blowing a bubble for a tiebreaking three-run error and New York beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 Friday night for its fourth straight win.

Baltimore started the eighth with two singles off CC Sabathia (2-1), and Manny Machado hit a sharp low liner that second baseman Robinson Cano.

Cano tossed it to shortstop Jayson Nix for the forceout at second. Nick Markakis, thinking the ball was going to be caught by Cano, got trapped in a rundown between second and third base.

Third baseman Kevin Youkilis tagged Markakis and then threw to first baseman Lyle Overbay when Machado ranged too far off the bag. Overbay then threw to Cano, who tagged Machado, setting off a smiling celebration by New York.

The Yankees had last turned a triple play on April 22, 2010, at Oakland. They hadn’t accomplished the feat in the Bronx since June 3, 1968, against Minnesota.

With the score 2-2 in the seventh, the Yankees had loaded the bases on two walks _ one intentional _ and a hit batter. Wells hit a long fly ball that Jones _ a Gold Glove center fielder _ ranged back for. On the warning track, Jones turned, raised his glove and blew a pink bubble. He closed his glove a bit early, and the ball bounced away clearing the bases.

In the first meeting between the teams since the Yankees eliminated the Orioles in Game 5 of the division series,

Sabathia allowed two runs _ one earned _ and eight hits with nine strikeouts and no walks. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his second save.

Youkilis had three hits and an RBI but made an error at third base that led to the tying run in the seventh inning. Youkilis has hit in all nine games he’s played with the Yankees.

Baltimore tied it 2-all when Matt Wieters reached on Youkilis’ misplay and advanced on Sabathia’s balk. J.J. Hardy followed with an RBI single.

Already hampered by several key injuries, the Yankees pushed back Andy Pettitte’s scheduled start Sunday in the finale of this three-game series to Tuesday or Wednesday because of back spasms. Phil Hughes, whose scheduled start Thursday was postponed by rain, will get the ball Saturday and Hiroki Kuroda will move back one day to Sunday.

Too make matters worse for New York, Eduardo Nunez, filling in at shortstop for injured captain Derek Jeter, was hit on his right wrist by a pitch from Miguel Gonzalez (1-1) and left after attempting a warmup throw before the third inning.

X-rays were negative.

Gonzalez then dropped No. 9 hitter Francisco Cervelli to the dirt in the fifth with a pitch that came close to the catcher’s head, and the right-hander was booed relentlessly by what remained of the 35,033 fans that withstood the blustery 35-degree wind chill.

Cervelli ended up walking and coming around to score _ clapping his hands _ on Cano’s RBI single to left-center, his eighth RBI in three games.

NOTES: Gonzalez walked five. … Jeter (ankle surgery) took batting practice on the field and grounders at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa, Fla. He did a few slower-speed spin moves on balls up the middle. … The Orioles claimed RHP Alex Burnett off waivers from Toronto and optioned him to Triple-A Rochester. To make room on the 40-man roster, they transferred INF Wilson Betemit (torn right knee ligament) from the 15- to the 60-day DL. … Orioles RHP Steve Johnson (lat strain) and LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (elbow surgery) are to throw in extended spring training Saturday. … Youkilis’ hitting streak is the longest to start a season for a player in his Yankees debut since Joe Buzzas had hits in the first 10 games of 1945.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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