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Yankees explode for five runs in 9th, beat O's 7-2 in Game 1

A wild inning for the Yankees off the Orioles' All-Star closer results in a commanding lead.

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Yankees break open Game 1 in 9th, beat O's 7-2

Sunday night in Baltimore, the Yankees turned a nail-biter into a laugher with five runs in the ninth inning, all against Orioles closer Jim Johnson. CC Sabathia pitched brilliantly, and came just one out short of a complete game.

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Brian Matusz handles Yankees' lefties in 7th

Here we are at the seventh-inning stretch and the Yankees have outplayed the Orioles in most obvious respects but none of that matters because the Yankees have made outs on the bases and the Orioles have flashed some leather and they're tied 2-2 and you have to like the home team's chances at this point regardless of stupid run differentials.

Got all that?

The one fly in the Orioles' ointment is CC Sabathia, who's made roughly one mistake all night and has thrown only 95 pitches in 70 innings. He might not pitch nine innings ... but he might, and that would leave Joe Girardi extraordinarily well-equipped with relief pitchers if it looks like this game is going to last forever.

Which it might. The Orioles' bullpen is excellent, and only got stronger when lefty Brian Matusz was converted this summer from struggling starter to dominant reliever. Matusz came on in the seventh, got Robinson Cano on a grounder to second and struck out Nick Swisher. Matusz walked Mark Texeira on four pitches, but struck out Curtis Granderson on three pitches to end the frame.

Now it really gets interesting.

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Yanks knock out Hammel, but bullpen keeps it 2-2

As Matt Sussman pointed out in our last update, while Game 1 was tied after five innings, there was a huge disparity in the pitch counts. Well, Jason Hammel got pulled from the contest in the sixth inning, after throwing 112 pitches. Which is a lot, and can be explained by a) four walks, b) five walks, and c) Yankees.

The Yankees are just really patient, darn them.

Hammel got lifted after giving up a line-drive single to Nick Swisher, who came into this series with a .169 career batting average in postseason games. Covering plenty of at-bats, too.

Hammel's replacement, left-hander Troy Patton, immediately gave up a single up the middle to Mark Teixeira, but he retired Curtis Granderson on a long foul ball, deep into the right-field corner, with Chris Davis shying away from the ball -- he seemed to lose it in the lights -- just as he was catching it.

Just more of that Oriole luck? It's still 2-2 in the sixth. Ask us in about an hour.

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Yankees score once in 3rd to make it 2-2

Jason Hammel's control deserted him in the fourth inning, which cost him a run and his Orioles the lead.

Alex Rodriguez led off and walked. Hammel did get Robinson Cano on a grounder to first baseman Mark Reynolds, with Rodriguez advancing. Well, that's one word for what he did. You might want to supply your own ...

Arodlol

Gotta love that slide, and the Mickey Mouse gloves.

Anyway, that brought up Nick Swisher, who's got a long history of postseason struggles but drew a walk earlier in this game.

He drew a walk this time, too.

Mark Teixeira came up. Hammel threw a fastball that tailed right through the heart of the strike zone. Teixeira killed it, and the only things that kept his liner in the park were a) he hit it too hard, and b) there's a really tall wall in right field at Oriole Park.

Ex-first baseman Chris Davis played the ball adroitly off the wall, turned and fired a strike to second base in plenty of time to nail Teixeira. Rodriguez scored, but Davis's play (and Teixeira's baserunning) turned a first-and-third situation (with one out) into a third-only situation (with two outs). And after intentionally walking Curtis Granderson, Hammel retired Russell Coltrane Martin on a routine fly ball to end the inning.

So our score after three-and-a-half innings: Orioles 2, Yankees 2.

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Uh, about CC Sabathia's Hall of Fame candidacy ...

Sure, he's got a .652 career winning percentage. But what about this?

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Hammel's straightened up since first two Yankees

Wouldn't hate to lose a game because of something you did in the first few minutes? Something you just can't, as hard as you try, take back? Kevin Appier, one of the hardest-luck pitchers in major-league history, once gave up a leadoff home run, but not another hit the whole rest of the game.

He lost, 1-0.

Jason Hammel, pitching tonight for the first time in almost a month, opened the game by giving up a single to Derek Jeter and an RBI double to Ichiro Suzuki. Since then, Hammel's retired eight of the nine Yankees he's faced, with the only blemish being Nick Swisher's walk.

Will those first few minutes be enough to beat him, though?

We'll see. It's the bottom of the third inning and CC Sabathia, who looked unhittable in the first two innings, has given up a couple of hits to open the inning and the Orioles have runners on second and third. Stay tuned ...

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Yankees vs. Orioles: Wait, there's a run?

The start of the American League Division Series between the Orioles and Yankees was delayed because of rain, which meant reruns of The Big Bang Theory, which meant the TV went off. If you're reading this, the odds are good that you like the The Big Bang Theory -- it's really popular! -- so I won't belabor the point. Just know that I'm judging you and your taste.

And when the TV went back on, the Yankees already had a run. Derek Jeter led the game off with a grounder up the middle for a single, and he scored on a line-drive double from Ichiro. Before a lot of Orioles fans made their way to their seats, the Yankees were up 1-0.

It could have been worse for Jason Hammel and the Orioles, but Ichiro was caught stealing third. Alex Rodriguez was called out on strikes shortly after, and Robinson Cano flew out to right field for the third out of of the inning.

I didn't see any of this except for the Cano part, so I regret that I don't have any sort of interesting commentary to add. The important part is that I didn't have to watch The Big Bang Theory.

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Yankees-Orioles will play on Sunday night

The New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles were scheduled to get underway at 6 p.m. ET for Game 1 of the 2012 ALDS, but rain has delayed the first pitch. The game will happen on Sunday night, with the start expected to come between 8 and 9 p.m. ET, according to CBS Eye On Baseball.

Rain is still coming down in Baltimore, but the National Weather Service predicts the showers to end around 8 p.m. There will be just a 10 percent chance of precipitation throughout the rest of Sunday night.

When the rain finally stops, the Orioles will be sending Jason Hammel to the mound. The Yankees counter with their ace, left-hander CC Sabathia.

The two teams battled for the division title for the final month of the season, with the Yankees clinching the AL East on the final day and securing home field advantage. That means the first two games are scheduled for Baltimore, with the rest of the series coming in New York.

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Rain delays Yankees/Orioles Game 1

Game 1 of the 2012 ALDS matchup between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles has been delayed by rain.

The National Weather Service predicts occasional rain in the Baltimore area until 8:15 p.m. ET. The game was initially scheduled to start at 6 p.m. before showers came. When the game does get going, Jason Hammel gets the call for the Orioles against CC Sabathia of the Yankees.

The Orioles have taken four of the last seven meetings between the they spent much of the stretch run battling the Yankees for the division title. New York eventually prevailed, clinching on the last day of the regular season. That allowed the Yankees to have home field advantage for the series, as the first two games will be played in Baltimore before the ALDS moves to New York for Game 3. Games 4 and 5 will also be at Yankee Stadium if necessary.

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ALDS Game 1: Orioles lineup

With every playoff game that features Nate McLouth leading off for the Baltimore Orioles, I'm going to mention something about Nate McLouth leading off a playoff game for the Baltimore Orioles This can't be talked about enough. Nate McLouth is leading off for the Baltimore Orioles in a playoff game. Oh, you wacky Mayans.

The lineup:

1. Nate McLouth* - LF
2. J.J. Hardy - SS
3. Adam Jones - CF
4. Matt Wieters# - C
5. Mark Reynolds - 1B
6. Manny Machado - 3B
7. Chris Davis* - RF
8. Lew Ford - DH
9. Robert Andino

Against CC Sabathia, Jim Thome is getting the night off in favor of Lew Ford, who is the DH for the Baltimore Orioles in a playoff game.

Nate McLouth is leading off for the Baltimore Orioles in a playoff game.

Lew Ford is the DH for the Baltimore Orioles in a playoff game.

Nate McLouth is leading off for the Baltimore Orioles in a playoff game.

Lew Ford is the DH for the Baltimore Orioles in a playoff game.

It is 2012, and Nate McLouth and Lew Ford are both in the lineup for the Baltimore Orioles in a playoff game.

Oh, you wacky Mayans.

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Joe Girardi sets Yankees' Game 1 lineup

Ah, to go back in time to 2001 and tell a Mariners fan that the Yankees would eventually start a playoff game with the first three spots filled by Derek Jeter, Ichiro, and Alex Rodriguez. You'd probably get stabbed, but for a split-second, you'd get a priceless look of uncomprehending rage. It'd be worth it.

The lineup for the New York Yankees, who are taking on Jason Hammel and the Baltimore Orioles in Game 1 of the American League Division Series:

1. Derek Jeter - SS
2. Ichiro Suzuki* - LF
3. Alex Rodriguez - 3B
4. Robinson Cano* - 2B
5. Nick Swisher# - RF
6. Mark Teixeira# - 1B
7. Curtis Granderson* - CF
8. Russell Martin - C
9. Raul Ibanez* - DH

Hammel has faced the Yankees three times this season, and the Yankees have won two of those games, scoring seven earned runs against him in 16 innings.

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Jason Hammel surprise Game 1 starter for Orioles

Down the stretch this season, Orioles manager Buck Showalter came up with a sort of mantra ... Our No. 1 starter is whoever is pitching for us today.

I might not have that exactly right, but you get the idea. Well, in the Orioles' huge Game 1 of their Division Series against the New York Yankees, the Orioles' No. 1 starter is a guy who hasn't pitched in nearly a month, and hasn't won since the 22nd of June.

On that date, Jason Hammel struck out 10 Nationals in eight innings, running his record to 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA. At that point, there wasn't any doubt about it: Hamel was the Orioles' No. 1 starter.

Then he lost four straight, and went on the Disabled List, and came back in September for a couple of starts, and got hurt again. His last outing came on the 11th of September, when he had to retire in the fourth inning because of a knee injury.

And now he's back. Is Hammel the right man for this so-important job? We'll know in a few hours. But Buck Showalter's been pushing the right buttons with his rotation for most of the season.

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