Wednesday, September 2, 2009

BALTIMORE | Jorge Posada homered twice, and Nick Swisher and Eric Hinske hit successive drives in a three-run seventh inning that carried the New York Yankees past the Baltimore Orioles 9-6 on Tuesday night.

Robinson Cano also connected for Yankees, who will try to complete a three-game sweep Wednesday.

Posada hit a solo shot in the third inning and a two-run homer in the fifth, but the Yankees trailed 6-5 in the sixth before rallying for their 22nd victory in 28 games. New York is 36 games above .500 for the first time since finishing the 2004 season 101-61.

The AL East leaders remained 6 1/2 games ahead of second-place Boston, which beat Tampa Bay.

The five home runs tied a season high for the Yankees, whose new ballpark has produced more homers than any stadium in the majors. Much of the crowd of 25,782 was cheering for New York, so all those long balls made the Yankees feel even more at home.

“It seems like the Orioles fans are not here, so we have a lot of Yankees fans here,” Posada said. “With this lineup, it seems like we don’t die down. It’s good to see. We get good at-bats, and the guys later on really got on base to provide that. Swisher’s home run was key, though.”

With the score tied at 6-6, Cano led off the seventh with a double off Chris Ray (0-3). Swisher then homered to center, his 23rd of the season and second in two games. Two pitches later, Hinske homered to left.

New York won despite getting another poor start from A.J. Burnett, who gave up six runs and 11 hits, including two homers, in 5 1/3 innings. Burnett is 0-4 in his past seven appearances.

“I didn’t have anything,” he said. “I got ahead of a few guys and wasn’t able to put anybody away. It’s a good thing our offense was swinging the way they were swinging.”

Damaso Marte (1-1) followed Burnett and got three straight outs. Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 38th save - and career-best 34th in a row.

Luke Scott and Felix Pie homered for the Orioles, who fell to 3-11 against New York this season. All-Star center fielder Adam Jones left with a sprained left ankle after twisting it on first base.

The Orioles got an uneven pitching performance from rookie Dave Hernandez, who gave up only four hits in five innings - but three of them were home runs. The right-hander walked six and struck out seven, but the three homers he allowed upped his total to 17 in 79 1/3 innings.

“Six walks is kind of ridiculous. I gave up four hits; three of them were home runs. That’s definitely been another problem of mine,” Hernandez said. “I’ve just got to work on getting the ball down.”

With the score tied at 3-3 in the fifth, Posada thought he took a called third strike and began to walk back to the dugout. It was only the second strike, however, and two pitches later the catcher hit a two-run, opposite-field homer to left.

“To tell you the truth, I thought it was strike three,” Posada said. “I got another crack at it, so I was a little embarrassed, you know? I got a good pitch to hit.”

Earlier in the game, Posada lost track of the count and had to be told to take first base on ball four.

In the Baltimore fifth, Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold singled before Scott hit a drive that cleared the 25-foot scoreboard in right field and landed on Eutaw Street.

New York tied it in the sixth when Alex Rodriguez hit a two-out, broken-bat RBI single, but Posada looked at a third strike with runners on second and third.

Pie made it 1-0 in the first inning with his eighth home run, the sixth in his past 18 games. Cano gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the second, hitting his 22nd homer after Posada walked.

Posada homered in the third, but in the bottom half Melvin Mora tied it with a two-run double.

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