Orioles avoid sweep on 11th inning RBI single by Mark Reynolds

NEW YORK – If the goal this week for the Orioles was to spend as many hours as possible in the lavish confines of the new Yankee Stadium, they can come home happy.

If they were hoping to make a dent in the playoff hopes of the New York Yankees, they certainly took their sweet time about it.

The O's were hitless in their first 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position Wednesday before Mark Reynolds finally singled home Matt Angle in the 11th inning to avert a three-game sweep with a 5-4 victory.

From scheduled starting times to final pitch, the Orioles and Yankees needed 14 hours and 49 minutes to complete the three-game series, including the midnight marathon that started after 11 p.m. on Tuesday night and Wednesday's soggy 11-inning series finale.

With all that time and effort invested, Reynolds wouldn't understate the importance of getting out of the Bronx with a victory.

"It's been a lot of hours all year,'' he said. "It's been a struggle for us all year. Any win down the stretch is kind of icing on the cake for us. We're working our butts off, and we're going to try to go out and win every game down the stretch and make it tough on some of these teams trying to get to the playoffs."

Reynolds had to battle back along with his teammates from a very frustrating offensive afternoon. He struck out four times and was 0 for 5 before getting one more chance to sting the Yankees for intentionally walking Nick Markakis ahead of him.

"It was a tough day, but those at-bats are all behind me,'' Reynolds said. "They walked Nicky again to get to me, and I just went up there and tried to get a pitch over the plate I could handle and stay on top of it, because the ball wasn't really traveling today to hit a home run. I just got on top of a slider and hit a line drive to left."

The Orioles took a two-run lead on Nolan Reimold's ninth homer of the season in the third, but the Yankees rallied to tie the game against rookie left-hander Zach Britton in the fourth. Then came the long slog for both teams, as the rain that made Tuesday night an eternity swept through Yankee Stadium a few more times during the middle innings on Wednesday.

When it was over, the Orioles bullpen had pitched six scoreless innings and given up just four hits. Rookie Pedro Strop got the win, and Jim Johnson worked out of a jam in the 11th to record his third save.

"I had to shake a lot of hands,'' manager Buck Showalter said. "But you know it was important for [the Yankees], important for the Red Sox, and anybody else involved in it so you played it straight up like we will again tomorrow. "

Britton will have to wait at least one more game to get his 10th victory of the season. He lasted five innings and gave up four runs on five hits before giving way to Brad Bergesen. It wasn't a stellar performance — Britton threw 85 pitches, but only 45 for strikes — but he worked out of a couple of jams to limit the damage.

The Orioles staked him to a quick lead when Matt Angle opened the game with a single, stole second and moved around to score on a couple of productive groundouts.

It was a nice start for the outfield prospect, who struggled in left field during the monsoon the night before. He didn't make any excuses after misplaying a pair of towering fly balls that accounted for three Yankees runs, but he wasn't timid when he got a chance to make an immediate contribution in the first inning.

The Yankee answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first on a double by Alex Rodriguez, who was one of just four Yankees regulars to start the game after the red-eye rain-delay on Tuesday night. The Orioles also rested several key players.

The O's took advantage of a pair of walks by struggling Yankees starter A.J. Burnett and an error by first base prospect Brandon Laird to add another run in the second, and Reimold gave them the lead with a two-run shot to left center in the fourth.

"It was a tough game, and you don't want to battle the whole way, go into extras and then come up short,'' Reimold said. "It was a fun game for us. Big hit by Mark at the end. Definitely good to get out of here with a win."

Britton settled down for a couple of innings after the Rodriguez double, but he walked A-Rod to lead off the fourth and allowed a double to Andruw Jones before Jesus Montero delivered a wall-banging two-run single to tie the game.

Montero had slammed the first two home runs of his major league career off Johnson in Monday night's 11-10 slugfest.

The skies continued to be a threat throughout Wednesday's game, at a couple of points opening up in a quick cloudburst that forced the weary grounds crew to doctor the infield the way it had on several occasions on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.

The conditions were awful, but the Orioles' bullpen came up big.

"They did a great job, especially with the tight game and everything going on with the weather and what-not,'' Britton said. "For them to go out there and put up zeroes all the way through, we kind of scraped it together. I thought it was big. Especially because I wasn't able to go deep into the game, they stepped up and did a great job."


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