Baltimore, MD (SportsNetwork.com) – Stephen Drew’s pinch-hit, go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning was the biggest of three home runs for the New York Yankees, who held on for a 6-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game series.
Chris Young and Mark Teixeira had solo shots prior to Drew’s blast off Tommy Hunter (0-1) that gave the Yankees a 6-4 lead, one inning after Adam Jones put Baltimore ahead with a two-run blast against Michael Pineda.
“They’ve been resilient so far,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of his team. “We didn’t get off to the start that we wanted. We didn’t play well the first five games of the season. We played much better the last two.”
Pineda (1-0) was bailed out by the slam in a 6 1/3-inning outing in which the big right-hander struck out nine but was tagged for five runs on nine hits.
Jones continued a red-hot homestand by going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Alejandro De Aza and Manny Machado each recorded two hits and an RBI in the Orioles’ fourth loss in five games.
Wei-Yin Chen had put Baltimore in position for a win by yielding just two runs and four hits over the first six innings.
“He pitched well, gave us a good chance to win,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Chen. “More times than not, I like our chances of pitching those last nine outs.”
Jones’ third homer in four games snapped a 2-2 deadlock in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Hunter got into quick trouble when Young singled to begin the seventh and the reliever followed with a walk to John Ryan Murphy.
Hunter regrouped to retire the next two hitters before Jacoby Ellsbury legged out a slow roller to load the bases and extend the inning for Drew, who worked a 3-1 count before hammering Hunter’s high fastball over the wall in right center for a 6-4 Yankee lead.
“If you locate it, different things happen,” said Hunter of the pitch. “Not locate it, it was up out over the plate and (Drew) put a good swing on it.”
Drew was summoned to pinch-hit for Brett Gardner, who was dealing with a sore right wrist after being hit by a pitch from Chen in the first inning.
Pineda surrendered singles to Machado and Everth Cabrera in the bottom of the frame, however, and Caleb Joseph greeted Dellin Betances with an infield hit to fill the sacks with just one out. De Aza was then able to beat out a potential double-play ball to bring in a run, though Betances struck out Chris Davis with the bases again loaded to keep New York in front.
Jones singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth but was erased attempting to steal second on a perfect throw from Murphy. Baltimore didn’t get a runner past first the rest of the way, with former Oriole Andrew Miller fanning three of the six he faced to register a five-out save.
One day after erupting for seven opening-inning runs in a 14-4 rout of Boston, the Yankees mustered just two hits through the first four innings against Chen. Both of them left the yard, however.
Young lined a hanging curveball into the seats in the second to give New York a 1-0 edge, and Teixeira’s towering drive inside the foul pole in left in the fourth tied the game at 2-2.
In between, Baltimore put up a pair of runs in its half of the second. Jones’ infield single was later followed by back-to-back RBI doubles by Machado and Jonathan Schoop, with Schoop ruled safe at second on a replay challenge after initially being called out.
Pineda cruised through the next three innings prior to yielding a leadoff double to De Aza in the sixth. Two batters later, Jones crushed a fastball into the home bullpen to briefly send the Orioles ahead.
Jones has gone 11-for-14 with three homers and seven RBI through the first four games of Baltimore’s homestand. His blast in the sixth was his 92nd career homer at Camden Yards, breaking a tie with Brady Anderson for the second-most in the park’s history … The Yankees have belted 11 homers in their last five games … Machado entered Monday’s matchup just 1-for-19 on the season … Alex Rodriguez started at third base for New York for the first time since returning from his 2014 suspension … Young and Ellsbury each went 2-for-4 … Orioles manager Buck Showalter improved to 3-for-3 on challenges this season when Schoop’s call was overturned.