BALTIMORE -- For a heart-stopping moment or two, it certainly appeared that despite Alfonso Soriano's best efforts, Manny Machado's long drive in the eighth inning had eluded his glove and found a home in the seats.
After Soriano came down, with his back to home plate and the ball nowhere to be seen, Machado was well into his home run trot and every Yankee on the field and in the dugout was holding his breath. Save one.
"Oh, I saw him catch it all right," David Robertson said. "I was watching it, I was hoping it wasn't going out. I knew he had it."
But Soriano admitted he took his sweet time showing the world the baseball. "As soon as I catch the ball, I just took 2 or 3 seconds, for me," he said. "I realized I make the catch, and I wanted to enjoy it first, for 2 or 3 seconds, by myself, and after that I just throw the ball to the infielder."
In the meantime, every Yankee but Robertson was having a heart attack. Robertson jumped high into the air and thrust both fists into the overcast Baltimore sky, thinking Soriano had saved him. More to come on that later. And Soriano, never known for his glove, admitted that this was something special, especially since off the bat, he thought Machado had hit a home run.
"When he hit it, I think, 'That ball is going far,' but when I keep running, I said to me, 'I think I have a chance to catch that ball,'" he said. "That's the first homer that I steal from somebody. I'm very excited, because it was a close game, and a very important catch, and very important for me."
New York Yankees
-- That catch was just the beginning of Robertson's problems. After striking out Chris Davis for the second out of the inning, Robertson gave up four straight hits, the third of which was a massive three-run homer by Danny Valencia that tied the game at 5.
"It was a tough outing," said Robertson, who was shut down for a couple of days earlier in the week with shoulder soreness but said that was not the problem tonight.
"My arm felt good, I just didn't make enough quality pitches," he said. "I left too many pitches in the middle of the plate and those guys made me pay for it."
Robertson's ineffectiveness cost him a win; although technically the pitcher of record when the Yankees came back to score the go-ahead run on a Jim Johnson wild pitch in the ninth, the official scorer used his discretionary power to award the victory to Mariano Rivera, who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, instead.
-- Rivera pitched for the fourth time in the past five games, although this time he needed 10 pitches after needing 74 to get through his previous three outings. It appears that with retirement looming, Girardi is no longer worried about saving Mariano's 43-year-old arm, which Mo said was fine with him.
"You've got to do what you have to do," Rivera said. "There's no time to look back or sit around. We're fighting for something. As long as we're OK, we have to continue."
-- Mark Reynolds' two-run homer in the second was the 200th of his career. Sixty of those home runs were hit during his two seasons as an Oriole.
-- Brendan Ryan's leadoff single in the ninth inning sparked the winning rally, but even though this game may turn out to be a huge victory in the Yankees' playoff push, there is no chance Ryan can participate in any postseason action for the Yankees. Only players who were with an organization by Aug. 31 are eligible for postseason play. The arrival of Ryan, who was acquired Tuesday night, came 10 days too late.