BALTIMORE -- One night after the Orioles used power to subdue the Yankees, it was New York's turn to show off with their bats.
The Yankees hit two home runs in a five-run fourth inning, and blasted another in the fifth to chase Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen. New York held on for an 8-5 win behind a solid outing from Phil Hughes.
The win put the Yankees (78-60) back into sole possession of the American League East division lead, pulling ahead of Baltimore (77-61) by a game as they evened four-game series at one game apiece entering the weekend.
"We are playing playoff-caliber-intensity baseball in September," said Alex Rodriguez, who hit one of the Yankees home runs -- the 645th of his career, and the 300th for him as a Yankee. "It's very exciting and a lot of fun. We are worried about one thing, and that's winning games."
Chen (12-9) lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on six hits. The rookie struck out four and walked one on 68 pitches, with his ERA climbing above 4.00 for the first time all year.
"I'm not tired at all," Chen said "These couple starts, I feel very strong physically, and I feel mentally strong, too."
Russell Martin's three-run home run with one out in the fourth inning -- his 16th -- got the Yankees going.
"It feels like the playoffs -- Playoff energy in the crowd that trickles down on the field," Martin said. "When I think of September baseball, this is what I envision. The loss on Thursday night was a crushing loss if you're weak mentally. But we are a tough team."
His homer was just the start of a big inning.
Steve Pearce, who was an Oriole for 28 games this year, hit his fourth home run of the season with two hours in the fourth. The two-run blast just cleared the left field wall beyond the leap of Nate McLouth, who argued that a fan interfered with his attempt to make the catch.
After a Derek Jeter single to open the fifth, Chen retired two before Rodriguez blasted a two-run homer into the second bullpen in left-center field. The home run was Rodriguez's 16th of the season.
"I wasn't able to attack the strike zone," Chen said. "I made some mistakes and they made me pay the price."
The Orioles answered in the bottom of the sixth, when Adam Jones hit his 29th home run of the season into the bullpen area. The 438-foot, three-run blast re-energized the home crowd.
Robert Andino added a solo home run for the second consecutive night, finding the left field seats in the seventh.
The Yankees added an insurance run in the ninth -- and the only run of the game that did not score via a homer -- when Jeter singled home Ichiro Suzuki.
The Orioles thwarted the Yankees' attempt to blow the game open, though. McLouth earned redemption from a prior attempt by pulling back a potential three-run home run from Nick Swisher to end the seventh inning.
The Yankees got two quick outs in the ninth, but Manny Machado lined a solo home run -- his fourth -- into the left field seats.
Hughes (14-12) went six innings, allowing three runs -- two earned -- on six hits. He struck out five and walked none before four relievers finished the win.
The series has been one of the biggest in terms of attendance and importance in Baltimore in the past 14 years. The Orioles are in contention for a playoff spot for the first time since 1997 -- and entered Friday needing four wins to record their first winning record since their last playoff appearance.
"You just have to tip your hat to their bullpen. They came in and did a good job. But it wasn't because the 'want-to' wasn't there," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "There was a lot of energy there again. The fans were great. Just a disappointment we couldn't return the favor."
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