By: Mike Fitzpatrick
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) Nelson Cruz hit his 23rd home run, J.J. Hardy connected for his first of the season and the Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 6-1 Saturday after starter Bud Norris left with tightness in his groin.
Adam Jones and Steve Pearce also went deep against struggling soft-tosser Vidal Nuno, helping the Orioles rebound after blowing a two-run lead in the ninth inning of a 5-3 loss Friday night.
Cruz and Pearce each had a two-run shot. Hardy ended a drought of 339 at-bats that dated to last September.
Mark Teixeira hit his 12th home run for the Yankees, who had won four straight and eight of 10, but that was all they managed against Norris and three relievers.
During a pregame ceremony on the field, former New York first baseman Tino Martinez was honored with a plaque to be placed in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium.
Norris (7-5) allowed three hits in five innings, matching a career high by winning his fourth straight start. He warmed up on the mound for the sixth but was pulled for Ryan Webb, who pitched two scoreless innings.
Tommy Hunter got the final five outs.
Pressed into the rotation because of injuries to CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda, Nuno (1-4) is having a hard time with the homer-friendly dimensions at Yankee Stadium. He was rocked in his previous outing in Oakland and is 0-4 since beating the Los Angeles Angels on May 7.
The left-hander yielded five runs, four earned, and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. He gave up three home runs and has served up 15 in 67 1-3 innings this season.
Jones hit a solo shot with two outs in the first and drew a leadoff walk in the fourth before Cruz connected. Cruz began the day one home run behind Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion for the major league lead.
Pearce’s drive made it 5-1 in the fifth, and Hardy finally went deep off Jose Ramirez in the eighth for his 159th career homer and first since Sept. 5, 2013, against Jose Quintana of the Chicago White Sox.
Back in the dugout, Hardy threw sunflower seeds on himself and was doused with water by Cruz. The two-time All-Star shortstop has hit at least 22 home runs five times, including a career-high 30 with Baltimore in 2011.
NOTES: Baltimore recalled reliever Brad Brach from Triple-A Norfolk. He takes the roster spot of rookie starter Kevin Gausman, optioned to Norfolk in a procedural move after Friday night’s game. The plan is for Gausman to come back and start a game in Friday’s doubleheader against Tampa Bay, manager Buck Showalter said. … Sabathia (right knee) threw 36 pitches in a bullpen session and said he plans to throw batting practice Tuesday at the team’s complex in Tampa, Florida. Sabathia expects to pitch in a minor league game Saturday for Class-A Tampa or in the rookie level Gulf Coast League. … RHP Masahiro Tanaka (11-1, 1.99 ERA) pitches for the Yankees in Sunday’s series finale against RHP Chris Tillman (5-4, 4.82). Hall of Fame reliever Rich “Goose” Gossage will be honored with a Monument Park plaque as part of festivities for the 68th annual Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium.