NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Jesus Montero broke a fifth-inning tie with his first major league home run, then hit a two-run drive in the seventh to help the New York Yankees outlast the Baltimore Orioles 11-10 Monday for their fifth straight win.
On an afternoon that featured both starting pitchers making early exits after wretched outings, Robinson Cano sparked the comeback from a 5-2 second-inning deficit with his third grand slam in less than a month. Montero then made his fourth big league game one to remember.
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Montero broke an 8-all tie when he homered deep into the right-field seats on the second pitch from Jim Johnson (5-5) leading off the fifth. The 21-year-old catching prospect, who made his big league debut at Boston last Thursday, came out of the dugout and waved his helmet during a curtain call.
He followed Russell Martin’s seventh-inning single off Johnson with another opposite-field drive to right, putting New York ahead 11-8. After his second straight slow trot around the bases, Montero exchanged high-fives with teammates in the dugout before emerging for another curtain call.
Montero is making a case to become the Yankees’ postseason designated hitter against left-handed starters.
New York’s Freddy Garcia fell behind 1-0 in the first and 5-2 in the second, but Brian Matusz was chased in the bottom half. Cano connected against Chris Jakubauskas for his third slam in 24 games and seventh of his career, giving New York an 8-5 lead.
But Mark Reynolds’ two-run homer against Garcia in the third and Robert Andino’s solo shot off Scott Proctor in the fifth tied it.
Nick Markakis also homered for Baltimore and Mark Teixeira connected for New York.
After singling in a run in the eighth and taking second when the ball skipped away from right fielder Chris Dickerson for an error, Markakis was thrown out trying for third by Derek Jeter. Orioles manager Buck Showalter argued with third base umpire Bruce Dreckman to no avail.
Aaron Laffey (2-1) got two outs for his first win since the Yankees claimed him off waivers from Seattle on Aug. 19. Mariano Rivera gave up Ryan Adams’ two-out RBI single in the ninth, then hit Nolan Reimold with a pitch and allowed a double steal before striking out J.J. Hardy for his 38th save in 43 chances. Rivera boosted his career saves total to 597, four shy of Trevor Hoffman’s record.
New York, which began the day with a 1½-game AL East lead over Boston, boosted its record in day games to 38-9 (.809). That is the best in the majors since at least 1946, according to STATS LLC. The Yankees have won eight of nine overall.
Matusz had his best start in half a season, even though he lasted just 1 1-3 innings and 46 pitches while allowing five runs, five hits and two walks, Matusz, whose ERA swelled to 9.84, had lost seven straight starts since beating Oakland on June 6.
Garcia was equally awful, giving up seven runs and nine hits in 2 2-3 innings in his worst outing this year.
New York had just two swings and misses against Matusz and Baltimore had four versus Garcia. The first two innings took more than an hour to complete.
NOTES: Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers football player paralyzed since an injury last season, was at the game. … Orioles 1B Chris Davis is likely to be activated Tuesday after recovering from a strained right shoulder and completing an injury rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Bowie. … Proctor, signed by the Yankees three days after Atlanta released him last month, made his first appearance for New York since July 27, 2007, also against the Orioles. … CC Sabathia is the first Yankees pitcher with 19 wins in three straight years since Vic Raschi did it four times in a row from 1948-51. … A day after making his big league debut, Baltimore’s Kyle Hudson singled in the third for his first major league hit. … Phil Hughes (4-5) starts for New York on Tuesday against Tommy Hunter (2-1).