A tense American League East duel between New York and the Baltimore Orioles revealed the strengths and weaknesses of each team on Monday when the Yankees won 6-4 in 10 innings.
The result extended Baltimore’s losing streak to six games, and it became apparent why New York lead the division and the Orioles are mired in their longest skid in nearly a year.
Both showed their hitting prowess. Both played solid defense. The difference was that the Orioles got another poor performance from the back end of their bullpen, while New York got a typically strong outing from closer Mariano Rivera.
New York trailed 4-3 in the ninth inning, before Travis Hafner homered with one out on a 3-1 pitch from Jim Johnson, who has blown three straight save opportunities after converting a club-record 35 in a row. All three of those botched saves have come during Baltimore’s current slide.
Pedro Strop then gave up two runs in the 10th to complete the collapse. After that, Rivera breezed through a 1-2-3 inning for his 17th save in 17 tries.
“Believe me, I don’t take him for granted,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Rivera. “It’s hard to do it year after year after year. You’re going to see guys go through some ups and downs, but Mo doesn’t go through a lot.”
Neither did Johnson until last week, when he blew ninth-inning leads against San Diego and Tampa Bay, before collapsing against the Yankees.
In Cleveland, Ohio, Yan Gomes hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning as the Indians, twice revived by Seattle’s fielding errors, beat the Mariners 10-8 to complete a four-game sweep.
Gomes drove a 3-2 pitch from Charlie Furbush (0-3) over the wall in left, giving the Indians their fifth straight win and third walk-off over the Mariners in four days.
As Gomes reached the plate he was mobbed by his teammates following an improbable win that came after Cleveland’s bullpen gave up homers in three consecutive innings.
It was the Indians’ first four-game sweep of Seattle since 1981 and the comeback gave Cleveland their 18th win in 22 games.
In other American League games, Edwin Encarnacion hit a tiebreaking, bases-loaded double in the seventh inning as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-5, the Chicago White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox 6-4 in Chicago, the Houston Astros edged the Kansas City Royals 6-5 in Houston, Texas, and Seth Smith homered and scored three times as the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 9-2.
In the National League, Clayton Kershaw scattered three singles in his second complete game of the year and Matt Kemp hit his first home run since April 24, lifting the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cincinnati Reds edged the Mets 4-3 in New York when Jay Bruce hit a tiebreaking homer and an RBI double to back Johnny Cueto’s wild, but effective return from the disabled list.
The Miami Marlins had a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies by the same margin, with Patrick Corbin tossing a three-hitter for his first complete game and striking out a career-high 10.
In San Francisco, Ryan Vogelsong broke his throwing hand on a swing after pitching himself toward his first win in seven starts as the Giants returned from a terrible road trip to beat the Washington Nationals 8-0.