They got 6 1/3 good innings out of Andy Pettitte -- who for awhile didn't look like he would last four -- and a power display from the two, three and five hitters in their lineup to pull to within 1 1/2 games of the second spot, pending the outcome of the Red Sox-Rays game tonight in St. Petersburg.
Suddenly, last weekend's Boston beatdown seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away.
Workhorse: A day after posting a rare four-out save, Mariano Rivera got a more conventional three-out save tonight, although he did have to sprint to cover first base twice and had an anxious moment when Nate McLouth belted one over Brett Gardner's head for a two-out double and Brian Roberts singled him in to cut the margin to just one run. But 43-year-old Mo got got 21-year-old Manny Machado to strike out on three pitches and the Yankees had a huge win.
Home run derby: The Yankees had just four hits all night, but three of them were home runs, all solo shots, including Robinson Cano's blast into the right-center field seats leading off the ninth inning that gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Cano's shot came on an 0-1 pitch from reliever Tommy Hunter, on an 88 mph changeup after Hunter had been firing at 97. It was Cano's 27th HR and 100th RBI of the season. The Yankees then got the game winner when Curtis Granderson tripled off the center field wall and scored on Lyle Overbay's infield single.
Tie Rod: Alex Rodriguez, the designated hitter tonight because a slightly strained left hamstring, designated a baseball for the seats in the sixth inning, belting a 1-1 pitch from Feldman into the right-field bleachers to tie the game at 3. It was No. 6 on the season and No. 653 overall for Rodriguez, who now stands just seven HRs away from Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list -- and a $6 million check from the Yankees.
Two-out blues: The Orioles put up a two-spot on Pettitte in the third inning on three straight hits, all of them coming with two outs. Singles by Roberts and Machado, followed by a double to right by Chris Davis, gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead. Cano airmailed his relay throw home way over Chris Stewart's head but it was just collateral damage. For Davis, it was his 40th double of the season, and combined with his 49 home runs, made him the first Oriole ever to enter that 40-40 club.
Goin' yard: It was a long time between long balls for Granderson, since August 22 to be exact, a span of 61 at-bats, but Grandy hit one long enough to be two home runs leading off the fifth inning. The shot cleared the seats and landed in the alley between the ballpark and the warehouse in distant right field. Grandy's fifth home run of the season was also the Yankees' first hit of the game off Scott Feldman.
Hitless wonder: The Yankees scored a first-inning run without getting a hit: Gardner walked, stole second, went to third on A-Rod's groundout and scored on Cano's groundout.