BALTIMORE-Curtis Granderson made good use of his time on Sunday against the Orioles.
Granderson came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit homer and five RBIs, and Derek Jeter added a two-run homer to help the New York Yankees regain first place in the American League East with a 13-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles Sunday afternoon.
New York (79-61) split the key four-game series with the Orioles (78-61). The Yankees came into town one game ahead and leave Baltimore in the same spot.
The two teams each won nine games in their 18-game season series, which is now finished. They wouldn't meet again unless it's in the playoffs, and the Yankees would get to host a playoff between the two teams if there is one.
Granderson came into the game stuck in a 5-for-43 slump and wasn't in the starting lineup. But he came on to pinch-hit in the sixth inning with New York holding a 5-3 lead. He blasted a solo homer to center to make it 6-3 as the Yankees wound up scoring the final eight runs.
"It would be great to get him going because he has been so important to our offense," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "For him to come in and get three hits and knock in five RBIs on a short day is pretty nice."
The home run was his 100th with the Yankees. He also added a two-run single in the seventh plus a two-run double in a five-run eighth as New York blew the game open. Jeter, who finished with three RBIs, got his homer in the eighth.
But Granderson's hits proved crucial throughout a game the Yankees needed, especially after dropping a controversial one Saturday night.
"Physically I have felt fine; who knows what it's been," Granderson said. "Just a matter of continuing to swing the bat. I've been getting good pitches, just haven't been able to do anything with them. Tonight, pitches were the same. I was able to put the ball in play."
The Yankee bullpen then helped by doing what Baltimore's relief pitchers have all season - shutting down the opposing team.
Starter Freddy Garcia was ineffective, and Girardi pulled him in the fourth. But Joba Chamberlain (1-0), Boone Logan, Cory Wade and Derek Lowe combined to limit the Orioles to no runs on one hit over the final 5 2/3 innings, along with nine strikeouts.
Chamberlain had not won since May, 2011.
"It was really an outstanding job by our bullpen," Girardi said. "To think about what they had to do today."
New York took command early against an unusually wild Zach Britton (5-2), the Baltimore starter. The young left-hander had won four in a row, but the Yankees stayed patient at the plate and wouldn't go after his close pitches.
"They stayed with a good approach, not chasing those balls that start at the knees and were going down," Britton said. "I just didn't make the adjustments that I had to."
The Yankees took advantage of Britton's wildness early. Jeter led off the game with an infield single and moved to second when Nick Swisher walked.
Jeter then moved to third when Alex Rodriguez grounded into a double play and scored on a Robinson Cano single for the game's first run.
Britton then retired the next seven batters before losing his control again in the fourth. Rodriguez singled before Britton walked three in a row. The final walk was to Steve Pearce and forced in Rodriguez.
After Andruw Jones struck out, Jayson Nix drove in a run with a bloop single to center. Ichiro Suzuki then beat out an infield single to make it 4-0 and keep the bases loaded. Britton then walked Jeter for another run, and that ended the left-hander's day.
The Orioles drove Garcia from the game in the bottom of the inning. Nate McLouth walked before Garcia hit J.J. Hardy. Wilson Betemit, stepping in at DH since manager Buck Showalter shook up his lineup, lined a two-run double to right-center.
One out later, Matt Wieters' RBI single cut the lead to 5-3. Girardi went to the quick hook and pulled Garcia in favor of Chamberlain, who struck out Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis to get out of the inning.
The series split left the surprising Orioles still in the hunt in the American League East and the wild-card race. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter's team took four of seven from the Yankees in the past week, and he liked what the Orioles did.
"I feel real good about our players and the things we went through," Showalter said. "We played four, really seven tough battles with these guys. We'd like to have won all seven, and I'm real proud of them."
NOTES: Baltimore's Nick Markakis and Showalter said after the game that the outfielder's right thumb will be operated on Tuesday morning. But Markakis said it could speed up the recovery process by about three weeks so he remains hopeful of returning if the Orioles make it into the playoffs...Britton usually does not have control problems, having struck out 46 and walked 23 in 52 innings coming into this game...Mark Teixeira will have an MRI on his ailing left calf on Monday, as it appears he may have re-aggravated the calf that sidelined him for 10 days. Girardi told the media that the injury appears more serious, and how bad it is will determine when -- and if -- he returns this season...The Yankees are still scratching their heads over the performance of CC Sabathia. He took the loss Saturday, and his velocity has gone down while the left-hander hasn't held a lead in each of his last three starts.
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