Rapid Reaction: Yankees 8, Orioles 5

What it means: That the AL East is going to be a dogfight, because nearly a quarter of the way into the season, the Orioles seem to be for real. The Yankees won it 8-5 but it wasn't easy and may have cost them yet another starting pitcher.

Teixeira still hacking: Despite suffering from a lingering bronchial infection that sometimes manifests itself in deep, hacking coughs, Mark Teixeira saved his best hack for a 1-2 fastball from Luis Ayala, driving it deep into the right-field bleachers with Alex Rodriguez aboard to break a 5-5 tie in the seventh inning and provide the eventual margin of victory. Teixeira even had enough left to double off the RF wall in the ninth, and score the final run on Chavez's sac fly.

Ivan Nova-caine: Ivan Nova had a painfully ineffective night, first taking a hot smash off the bat of Nick Markakis on his right ankle in the third, and then coming down awkwardly after fielding a chopper off the bat of Wilson Betemit in the sixth. Nova shook off the first one but not the second, leaving the game in obvious pain after hobbling around and then bending over to collect himself before limping off. Nova's ineffectiveness was at its peak in the fifth, when he allowed three runs and a home run to J.J. Hardy, but he was hit hard from the first batter of the game.

Ivan a new pitcher: Joe Girardi might be thinking that today after the way the Orioles pounded Nova for 5 runs in 5-1/3 innings, particularly that frightening fifth in which everything was hit like a rocket. Nova's 4-1 record is belied by his 5.44 ERA.

A-Rod Carew?: A-Rod had three hits, all singles, and scored twice. He may not be hitting for much power -- just 5 HRs and 14 RBIs -- but his BA is up to .295 and his OBP to .393.

Boone (Dr. K) Logan: The Yankees lefty specialist struck out all three batters he faced.

No way to treat The King: Orioles reliever Dana Eveland plunked Raul Ibanez on the right elbow in the ninth. Ibanez was in pain as he left for pinch-runner Dewayne Wise.

New new closer?: With a three-run lead, Girardi went not with David Robertson to close it out, but Rafael Soriano. Despite a two-out error by Chavez, who dropped the potential game-ending pop fly, Sori got the three outs without incident, but what's up with Robby? We'll ask Joey Looseleafs.

X marks the spot: Playing in just his second major-league game, Orioles LF Xavier Avery collected his first big league hit, a ringing double in the first, and his first big-league RBI, on his first big-league triple, in the fifth, both off Nova.

Nick knocks: Nick Swisher's fourth-inning double into the right-center gap drove in two runs to tie the game and extend his team lead in RBIs to 26.

Street cred: Curtis Granderson clubbed one over the right-field bleachers and out onto Eutaw Street, one hop to the warehouse, to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Granderson's No. 12 of the season put him just about on the same pace as last year, when he hit 41 HRs and reached his first dozen in the Yankees' 34th game of the season. This was No. 35.

Captain can't: Not tonight, anyway. Derek Jeter rapped into two DPs and struck out with the bases loaded, stranding six baserunners.

What's coming: Update from the clubhouse on Nova injury/prognosis, as well as a column on Teixeira, who until tonight was the prime candidate for lineup demotion.

Tomorrow: CC Sabathia (5-0, 3.51) faces LHP Wei-Yin Chen (3-0, 2.68), first pitch at 7:05 p.m.