Yankees Reclaim AL East Lead With 8-5 Win Over Orioles

September 7, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin (55) is congratulated by third base coach Rob Thomson (59) after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

The Yankees are back in first place after defeating the Orioles 8-5 on Friday night.

One night after dropping an extra-innings thriller, the New York Yankees took back possession of first place in the AL East with an 8-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The Bronx Bombers jumped on Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen, blasting three homers for seven quick runs. All the runs came via the long ball in the fourth and fifth inning, as Russell Martin, Steve Pearce, and Alex Rodriguez each went deep.

Chen encountered little trouble the first time through the Yankees order, but things quickly got away from him in the fourth as the heart of the order came around for the second time. He led off the inning by hitting Nick Swisher and issuing a walk to Robinson Cano. Martin then stepped into the box and pulled at 2-0 offering down the left field line for the 3-0 lead. It was gone as soon as it left the bat, landing 15 rows into the seats.

Three batters later, Pearce added to the lead to make it 5-0. The Yankee first baseman swung at a first-pitch fastball with Andrew Jones on first. It appeared he got under it just a bit, but the high fly ball carried into the first row in left field. Baltimore's Nate McLouth went up to try and bring it back but was unable to rob Pearce of the two-out homer (he'd later rob Swisher of a two-run homer with a fantastic catch in the 9th).

One inning later, Alex Rodriguez smashed the 300th homer of his Yankee career. With two outs, A-Rod fell behind in the count but caught a 1-2 fastball and drove it deep to left center. Just like that, it was 7-0 and Chen was gone.

With the seven-run cushion, Phil Hughes settled in on the mound and pounded the zone. He issued no walks and struck out five in six inning of work. Adam Jones took him deep for a three-run homer in the sixth, but that was the one big mistake he made all night. The teams would exchange runs in the ninth, but Rafael Soriano would convert his 37th save of the season. The early seven-run lead was too much for the Orioles to overcome.

Game 3 of the four-game set will take place Saturday night. Yankee ace CC Sabathia will be on the hill for New York while Buck Showalter will counter with Joe Saunders.

For more on the Yankees, visit Pinstriped Bible. For all your Orioles news, check out Camden Chat.

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