BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Orioles will have to quickly adjust to life without Nick Markakis.
In the fifth inning of Saturday night's 5-4 win over the New York Yankees before 46,067 at Oriole Park, Markakis took a ball off his left thumb from CC Sabathia and quickly knew it wasn't good.
"When it first happened I knew I broke it," Markakis said. "I knew it was definitely broken as soon as I took my batting glove off."
One of the keys to the season has been Markakis' outstanding play since he was moved to the leadoff spot after returning from missing six weeks with a broken bone in his right hand.
Manager Buck Showalter said that Markakis would be out for six weeks, and held out hope that he could return if the Orioles made an extended playoff run.
"When he comes out of a game that quick, it's not good," Showalter said. "It breaks my heart personally, and for him, I know how much this time of the season means to him."
Markakis' injury took a lot of luster off a win that ties the Orioles (78-61) with the Yankees (78-61) for first place in the AL East.
"We've been a sum of the parts team all year and we certainly lost a big part tonight, but we'll kind of reorganize or reassess where we are and see what we can do," Showalter said. "If I know this club and this group, someone will step forward."
The Orioles led 5-3 entering the ninth. Jim Johnson came on and allowed singles to Ichiro Suzuki an Eric Chavez to begin the inning. Derek Jeter bunted for a base hit to load the bases.
Nick Swisher bounced into a fielder's choice, scoring Suzuki. Mark Teixeira grounded to Robert Andino at second. He threw to J.J. Hardy for one out, Hardy fired it to first. Teixeira dove headfirst into the bag, and was called out by first base umpire Jerry Meals on a disputed call to end the game, and Johnson had his 42nd save and the Orioles had an exciting, but potentially damaging win.
Jeter led off the first with a single off Joe Saunders. Teixeira, in his first game after missing 10 with a strained left calf, doubled. Jeter scored on Alex Rodriguez's fly ball to left.
The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the second when Russell Martin drew a leadoff walk. With one out, Suzuki doubled to drive in Martin.
Mark Reynolds hit his 21st home run with one out in the second off Sabathia, his seventh against the Yankees in the last eight days. Lew Ford followed with his third home run, the sixth time the Orioles have homered in consecutive at-bats.
In the bottom of the third, Baltimore took a 3-2 lead when Markakis singled and scored on Hardy's double.
Saunders (2-1) walked Teixeira to lead off the sixth and gave up a one-out single to Robinson Cano. He exited for Darren O'Day, who struck out Martin and Curtis Granderson to end the inning. O'Day also threw a perfect seventh.
Saunders worked 5 1-3 innings, allowing two runs and five hits, walking two and striking out two.
In the bottom of the sixth, Hardy led off with his 19th home run of the year off Sabathia (13-5). Adam Jones doubled and scored on an RBI single by Ford to give the Orioles a 5-2 lead.
Pedro Strop retired the first two Yankees in the eighth, but allowed a mammoth home run to Rodriguez, walked Robinson Cano and gave up single to Martin before Brian Matusz got Granderson to pop out to end the inning.
Sabathia pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter.
NOTES: Chris Tillman, who hasn't pitched since leaving last Sunday's game in New York with discomfort in his right elbow, will have to wait another day or two to throw in the bullpen. ... Steve Tolleson started at designated hitter for the first time. ... The Orioles lead the season series 9-8.