By DAVID GINSBURG    AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) _ Freddy Garcia picked up where he left off in
his return from the disabled list, and Nick Swisher took it upon
himself to make up for the absence of the New York Yankees’ two
most notable stars.

Garcia pitched six innings of two-hit ball, Swisher homered and
the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 Monday night to earn a
split of the four-game series.

It was New York’s second straight win without third baseman Alex
Rodriguez and shortstop Derek Jeter. Rodriguez will join the team
in Boston on Tuesday after getting an MRI on his sore left thumb in
New York, and Jeter rested a bruised right knee but was available
“in case of an emergency,” manager Joe Girardi said.

Swisher made sure Jeter stayed on the bench. His 21st homer, the
sixth in seven games, gave New York a 3-0 lead.
“Obviously when you’re in that situation, you want to be the
guy to try and step up,” Swisher said. “I know everyone in the
lineup is stepping their game up a little bit.”

Mark Teixeira doubled in a run to help New York move within 11/2
games of the first-place Red Sox in the AL East. The Yankees next
face Boston for a three-game set in Fenway Park, and they’ll
bringing some momentum with them.

“I always use the word tenacity, but to come in here and lose
those first two games, and the way we bounced back to win these
last two is huge,” Swisher said. “That’s great baseball,
especially heading into a big series this week.”

Jeter hopes to be ready to play Tuesday in Boston.
“That’s the plan, I hope so,” he said after the game. “It
feels a lot better than it did yesterday.”

After being sidelined for three weeks with a cut right index
finger, Garcia (11-7) allowed one run, walked one and struck out
four to win his fourth straight decision. The right-hander is 4-0
with a 1.72 ERA in his last five starts.
“I have to be happy. I wasn’t pitching for almost three
weeks,” Garcia said. “I’m glad to do my job and get a win. We
needed it.”

Baltimore’s only hits against Garcia were a first-inning double
by Adam Jones and a solo homer to Mark Reynolds in the fifth. The
homer was the first against Garcia in 11 starts since June 7.
“He hung one slider to Mark Reynolds and gave us six great
innings,” Girardi said. “I would have signed up for that if
someone would have asked what we were going to get from him
tonight. He was excellent.”

J.J. Hardy also homered for Baltimore, which was seeking to win
a four-game series against New York for the first time since 1997.
Coming close and playing well was no consolation.
“Nobody’s happy with a split,” manager Buck Showalter said.
“But that’s a good baseball team, playing a real meaningful game.
And you can see how close it is; those small things. It’s close,
but I don’t think anybody’s satisfied in there, and neither am I.”
The Orioles closed to 3-2 when Hardy connected on an 0-2 pitch
from David Robertson in the eighth. It was his 26th home run,
matching a career high set with Milwaukee in 2007.

It was also the first run Robertson allowed on the road this
season. The Orioles then got a runner to second with two outs
before Robertson struck out Jones.

Mariano Rivera worked a perfect ninth to complete the
three-hitter and earn his 34th save.

Alfredo Simon (4-7) gave up three runs and four hits in seven
innings for Baltimore.
“They pitched just a tad better than we did,” Showalter said.
New York got a first-inning run when Curtis Granderson walked
and scored his major league-leading 122nd run on a double by

In the fourth, Robinson Cano hit a one-out single before Swisher
hit Simon’s next pitch over the 25-foot scoreboard in right.
Garcia retired 11 straight batters before Reynolds hit his 31st
home run.

NOTES: To make room for Garcia, the Yankees optioned reliever
Hector Noesi to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre. … Hardy extended
his hitting streak to 12 games. … The Yankees send CC Sabathia
(17-7) to the mound Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game
series against the Red Sox. New York is 2-10 against Boston this
season, 2-4 at Fenway Park. … Baltimore begins a three-game set
against Toronto on Tuesday night. The Orioles will start RHP Jeremy
Guthrie (6-16), whose 3.62 career ERA against the Blue Jays is the
best against any AL East foe.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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