BALTIMORE (AP) — Alex Rodriguez hit his 300th home run with the Yankees, Russell Martin and Steve Pearce also homered, and New York regained sole possession of first place in the AL East by defeating the Baltimore Orioles 8-5 on Friday night.
The Yankees built a 7-0 lead in the fifth inning against rookie Wei-Yin Chen (12-9) and held on for their third win in nine games. New York had lost eight of 11 to the Orioles, including the opener of this four-game series that runs through Sunday.
Adam Jones, Robert Andino and Manny Machado homered for the Orioles, who got three hits from Nate McLouth but missed a chance to move ahead of the Yankees for the first time since June 7.
Baltimore was backed by a near-sellout crowd of 40,861. But unlike Thursday night, when the Orioles hit six homers in a 10-6 win, most of the fans went home disappointed.
Rodriguez chased Chen with a two-run drive in the fifth — the 645th home run of his career. A-Rod, who also singled, extended his hitting streak to 11 games — his longest run since a 12-gamer in 2009.
Phil Hughes (14-12) allowed three runs, two earned, in six innings to break a streak of five straight road losses since June 15. The right-hander did, however, yield his major-league high 33rd home run — one more than Ervin Santana, who was slated to pitch later Friday night.
In his previous start, Hughes gave up five runs and two homers in five innings Sunday in an 8-3 loss to the Orioles.
Chen faced only 10 batters through the first three innings, only two more than he had to handle in New York’s five-run fourth. Chen hit Nick Swisher on the foot with a pitch and walked Robinson Cano before Rodriguez struck out. Martin then pulled a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats. One out and one single later, Pearce homered to left over the outstretched glove of McLouth, whose contention of fan interference was quickly dismissed by third-base umpire Mike Winters.
For Pearce, who played earlier this season with Baltimore, it was his first home run with New York.
After Rodriguez hit his 16th homer of the season in the fifth, Chen was done. The left-hander has surrendered 25 home runs in 28 games, including seven in his past four starts.
Jones gave Orioles fans some hope in the sixth when he connected with two on to cut the gap to 7-3. It was his 29th of the year and the second in two games.
Andino homered off Cody Eppley in the seventh, but New York got that run back in the ninth on an RBI single by Derek Jeter. McLouth then robbed Swisher of a home run, leaping above the 7-foot wall to grab the ball out of the waiting hands of a fan in a Yankees shirt.
Machado homered with two outs in the ninth.
NOTES: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira (strained left calf) intends to return Saturday. He has not played since Aug. 27. Baltimore recalled RHP Jake Arrieta from Triple-A Norfolk. He started on opening day for the Orioles but went 3-9 with a 6.13 ERA before being optioned. New York has been in first place every day since June 11. Rodriguez scored his 1,882nd run to move into a tie for 10th place with Tris Speaker on the career list. Matt Wieters went hitless, ending his 15-game hitting streak against the Yankees this season. New York’s CC Sabathia will pitch Saturday against Baltimore’s Joe Saunders.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)