NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Davis hit a fly ball to straightaway center field in the first inning and off the bat, most everyone seemed to think it was just a long out.
This season, though, Davis is dangerous every swing.
Davis hit his major league-leading 33rd homer, but Baltimore couldn’t hold an early lead Saturday and the New York Yankees rallied to win 5-4 for their season-high sixth straight victory.
“When you hit a home run and your team doesn’t get the win, there’s obviously a feeling that you could’ve done more,” Davis said.
Davis put the Orioles ahead by lofting a drive that kept drifting, carrying over Brett Gardner’s leap. He matched his career high in home runs and RBIs (85), both achieved during the entire 2012 season.
“I think he thought he hit a fly ball,” winning pitcher Andy Pettitte said.
Added Yankees manager Joe Girardi: “We didn’t think it was going to be a home run. He’s so strong, his popups are going to go out.”
Davis is tied for seventh-most homers by the All-Star game and still has more than a week to play before the break. Barry Bonds holds the mark with 39, followed by Reggie Jackson and Mark McGwire with 37 each, STATS said.
Davis also is batting .324.
“The fact that I’ve been playing every day — left-handers, right-handers, no matter who’s on the mound — has been huge for me because you get that momentum going. You’re feeling good at the plate, you can carry it day in, day out, not worry about sitting on the bench the next day,” he said.
Manny Machado celebrated his 21st birthday by hustling for his 39th double. That’s the second most before the All-Star break, trailing only the 42 by Edgar Martinez in 1996, STATS said.
The Orioles have lost four of five.
The 41-year-old Pettitte (6-6) earned his 251st win, tying Hall of Famer Bob Gibson for 44th place on the all-time list. He persevered on a hot, sticky day, hanging in after the Orioles took an early 3-0 lead.
Pettitte stretched his unbeaten streak against Baltimore to 11 starts dating to 2007, winning eight times. Overall, he is 28-6 against the Orioles — only Yankees great Whitey Ford (30) has beaten the Birds more often since the franchise moved from St. Louis to Baltimore for the 1954 season.
Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 29th save.
Eduardo Nunez came off the 60-day disabled list before the game and played for the first time since a strain on his left side slowed him in early May. He contributed a go-ahead hit that helped end a seven-game winning streak by Chris Tillman (10-3).
“It was a tough one for me, they grinded away the whole game. It wears on me,” Tillman said.
“I was comfortable. Rhythm, not so much. I think they do a good job of keeping you out of rhythm,” he said.
Nunez had a sacrifice fly in the second, then singled and scored in the fifth. It was 4-all when Lyle Overbay opened the sixth with a single against Tillman and advanced on a two-strike sacrifice bunt by Luis Cruz.
Next up was Nunez, and he singled up the middle. Overbay brushed past catcher Taylor Teagarden with a headfirst dive.
Alexi Casilla hit an RBI double for a 3-0 lead in the second. Teagarden, starting while catcher Matt Wieters got a day off, had an RBI single in the fourth.
Cruz hit an RBI single in the Yankees’ second. Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano had RBI singles in the fifth that made it 4-all.
The gametime temperature was 91 degrees, and the steamy afternoon took its toll.
Baltimore outfielders Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold waited out a pitching change on one knee in the grass. Cano stepped out of the batter’s box and glanced at the sky after the cloud cover seemed to distract him.
NOTES: The Orioles acquired INF-OF Alex Liddi from Seattle. Baltimore also got international signing slot No. 3 and sent the No. 2 spot to the Mariners. The 24-year-old Liddi was designated for assignment on June 28 after going 1 for 17 with Seattle. He’ll join Triple-A Norfolk. … Yankees RHP Hiroki Kuroda (7-6, 2.95) will start Sunday, bumping Phil Hughes back a day. Kuroda skipped a start because a tweaked hip flexor. RHP Jason Hammel (7-5, 5.19) pitches for the Orioles in the series finale. … Yankees SS Derek Jeter was set to begin a rehabilitation assignment Saturday night for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. … Orioles DH Brian Roberts batted fifth as a starter for the first time in his career. … Also on the list of most homers by the All-Star break: Luis Gonzalez and Ken Griffey Jr. (35), Frank Howard (34) and Roger Maris, Sammy Sosa, Matt Williams, McGwire and Griffey, STATS said.
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