Yanks Lead Drops to Two Games Over Orioles
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, September 1- The Baltimore Orioles lowered the lead of the Yankees in the American League East to two games as they defeated the Yankees, 6-1, in the first game of a three game weekend series at Yankee Stadium.
Rookie Miguel Gonzalez performed outstandingly in his 10th start in the majors. The 28-year old stopped the Yankees from scoring a run in his seven innings on the mound. The native of Mexico gave up only four hits. He fanned nine batters while only allowing one base on balls.
The victory for Gonzalez was his third in his last four decisions.
Joe Girardi offered praise to the winning hurler, “It just seemed like his fast ball was getting on the hitters faster than they thought. I think we got beat by the fast ball. He made some good off-speed pitches. [He had] command of the strike zone. He threw a good game.”
The first two hits off Gonzalez came off the bats of two future members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Derek Jeter singled to lead off the fourth, but was still at first when the inning concluded. The base hit was the 3,265th for Jeter, 18 below Willie Mays, in 10th place in career hits.
The second Yankee hit was a sixth inning lead-off single by Ichiro Suzuki. He was stranded at third at the close of that frame.
Eric Chavez and Russell Martin each singled in the seventh but neither was able to advance.
The Yankees, as on Wednesday, could not hit successfully with runners in scoring position. They failed in all four opportunities with RISP. On Wednesday, they were 3 for 17 in these clutch situations.
Curtis Granderson with his 34th home run of the season broke the shutout with one gone in the ninth. The homer was the club’s 200th of 2012.
Hiroki Kuroda, although going deep into the game, 8.1 innings, lost his second straight start. He surrendered three runs in the second, two on the 13th home run of the year by Mark Reynolds. A solo homer by JJ Hardy in the sixth drove in Baltimore’s fourth run of the contest.
The loss was the seventh in the last 10 games for the faltering Yanks. The Orioles have narrowed their deficit in the standings by winning their ninth in the last 12 games.
With a Yankees pitching change instituted by Girardi on Friday, David Phelps (3-4) will face Wei-Yen Chen (12-7) in game two on Saturday afternoon.
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