NEW YORK (AP) — Brian Matusz, Brian Roberts and Buck Showalter ended a frustrating stretch at Yankee Stadium for the revived Baltimore Orioles.
Matusz won his fourth straight start and Roberts had a pair of two-out RBI singles off A.J. Burnett, including a go-ahead hit in the seventh inning that propelled Baltimore to a 4-3 victory Monday. The AL-worst Orioles got their first win in seven tries this year at Yankee Stadium.
“I hope we get to the point where we’re not reminding: ’09 and the last time we did this and the last time we did that,” said Showalter, the new Orioles manager. “I’m not real sure if they’re aware of it in a statistical term, but they’re aware of it emotionally, probably. So, that’s part of changing kind of where we’ve been.”
Baltimore had lost 17 of 19 games in the Bronx coming in, but the Orioles came to New York for the first time under Showalter, the Yankees’ manager from 1992-95. Baltimore has won three in a row against Tampa Bay and New York, improving to 20-13 since Showalter took over.
“Health certainly has a lot to do with it,” Roberts said. “Starting pitching probably is the biggest difference. I don’t know if you can attribute that to Buck or not.”
Showalter said he didn’t gain special satisfaction at winning at new Yankee Stadium.
“It’s a different place. Obviously, it’s just a real busy place,” Showalter said. “I know I’m probably preaching to the choir — it’s kind of like Arlington, like where the Cowboys play. If you watch the game on TV, all the people in the stands are watching everything else. Anybody that wants to put a sign up, wanted to pony up, they’ve got an opportunity.”
In his second game since returning from the disabled list, Alex Rodriguez homered and drove in two runs to reach 100 RBIs for the 13th straight season and record 14th time overall. He surpassed Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx, who each reached 100 RBIs 13 times.
“Obviously you try to come out and be consistent every year,” Rodriguez said. “It’s nice.”
New York lost its second in a row following a season-high, eight-game winning streak. Still a major league-best 86-52, the Yankees began the day 2 1/2 games in front of second-place Tampa Bay in the AL East and leads after play on Labor Day for the 41st time, according to STATS LLC. The Yankees have failed to finish first only twice in those years, in 1906 and 1944.
“Yesterday and today are just two games,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Our focus is on the division. What we want to do is win the division and have the best record in the American League.”
Matusz (8-12) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings, beating the Yankees for the first time in four decisions against New York this season.
“You can’t just walk over us, because we’re playing good baseball right now,” he said. “It’s fun to come out and beat teams in our division.”
Matt Albers, Jim Johnson and Koji Uehara finished, with Uehara pitching a perfect ninth for his seventh save in seven chances.
Burnett (10-13) lost for the fifth time in six decisions, giving up four runs, seven hits and four walks in seven innings. Burnett and CC Sabathia, New York’s scheduled starter Tuesday, entered the series a combined 24-4 against Baltimore.
“You have to be able to shut them down after your team scores,” Burnett said. “I wasn’t able to do that.”
Josh Bell doubled leading off the third, with Brett Gardner trying for an outstanding leaping grab in left-center only to allow the ball to pop free when his glove hit the field. Roberts, who went 3 for 5, singled and Felix Pie hit into a run-scoring double-play grounder.
Rodriguez’s first homer in 12 at-bats against Matusz tied the score in the fourth. The drive off the back wall of the visiting bullpen in left-center gave Rodriguez 22 homers this season and 605 overall.
Roberts singled in runs in the fifth and seventh, around Matt Wieters’ sacrifice fly in the sixth. The Yankees had tied the score in the sixth on Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly and Robinson Cano’s sun-aided pop single to left that that fell past Pie, the left fielder, and shortstop Cesar Izturis.
“I’m not going to make an excuse, but I can see how it happened,” Showalter said. “I’ve seen it a lot here.”
Notes: 3B Josh Bell made an excellent sliding pickup on Derek Jeter’s grounder with runners on second and third, ending the fifth. Wieters threw out pinch-runner Greg Golson trying to steal second in the seventh. … Orioles OF Adam Jones, out of the starting lineup since aggravating a left shoulder injury Wednesday, could return Tuesday. … Roberts, who fouled a ball off a foot in the first, twice was thrown out trying for second on throws home.
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