- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Chris Tillman was upset he gave up a long ball to Alex Rodriguez - and not because it was a milestone home run.

Rodriguez hit his 661st home run to pass Willie Mays for fourth place on the career list, leading the New York Yankees to a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.

“I don’t like it. Any time I give up a home run I don’t like it,” Tillman said. “He’s one of the all-time greats. You’ve got to respect it. Any time you make a mistake to that guy he’s going to make you pay and he pretty much did twice tonight.”

The first time, Tillman (2-4) was saved by a superb catch by Delmon Young, who leaped above the wall in right field to turn a possible homer by A-Rod into a sacrifice fly. On the next batter, Young threw out Mark Teixeira, who was trying to stretch an RBI single.

In fact, the Orioles kept it close because of defense on the night gold glove shortstop J.J. Hardy made his season debut after sitting out with a shoulder injury.

“We take pride in our defense. We have a good defensive team,” said Steve Pearce, who made a nifty play in just his second start at second base. “We work on it, and it’s just who we are.”

There was no catching A-Rod’s home run, though.

The Yankees star hit a line drive off Tillman into a secure area just to the left of Monument Park in center field to give New York a 3-2 lead in the third inning.

“All of this is pretty crazy,” Rodriguez said. “A year ago today I never thought I would ever get a curtain call or be hitting in the middle of the lineup for the Yankees, helping our team win.”

Next up for Rodriguez: Babe Ruth at 714 home runs.

Rodriguez, who didn’t play last year while serving a drug suspension, pumped his fist as he rounded first base, and the fans gave the slugger a standing ovation as he was greeted warmly in the dugout by his teammates.

Teixeira stayed out of the batter’s box as the cheers swelled. Rodriguez was encouraged by the Yankees to take a curtain call, and he said he looked to manager Joe Girardi for reassurance that it was OK. Then, ever so briefly, the three-time AL MVP jumped to the top step and thrust both hands above his head.

Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, moved into a tie for fourth in the AL this season with seven home runs.

The Orioles are winless in New York. They were swept in a two-game series by the Mets at Citi Field before switching to the Bronx for a four-game series against their AL East rivals.

Teixeira’s RBI double in the fifth put New York ahead for good and kept Nathan Eovaldi (3-0) undefeated in six starts with the Yankees.

Eovaldi gave up solo shots to Jimmy Paredes and Caleb Joseph. Joseph also had an RBI double.

Andrew Miller pitched a hitless ninth against his former team for his 12th save.

Rodriguez came in 5 for 10 with three homers against Tillman and, with runners on first and third in the first, he sent a 2-0 pitch to right field that got fans off their feet.

But Young, making just his fifth start this year in right field, perfectly timed his leap at the wall, his glove hitting on top of the wall behind the padding.

“He kept us in the ballgame from the get-go,” Tillman said of Young.


Orioles: SS Everth Cabrera was put on the 15-day DL with a bruised left foot after getting hit by a pitch Wednesday. “I was surprised because last night that was like a 75 (mph) curveball that hit me in my toe but I was playing normal and then this morning I kind of woke up really sore,” he said. “I’ve got an MRI tomorrow so we’ll see what happens.”

Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (wrist tendinitis and forearm strain) made 50 throws from 60 feet on flat ground, his first activity since going on the DL 10 days ago.


Orioles: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (3-1) pitched four-hit ball for 7 2-3 innings in his last start vs. Tampa Bay.

Yankees: RHP Adam Warren (2-1) makes his first career start against the Orioles.


Chris Davis struck out four times for the third time this season a day after fanning three times at Citi Field against the Mets. Davis has struck out 44 times in 92 at-bats this year but is hitting .261.

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