Place: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
After earning a split of the first two games in Baltimore, the New York Yankees attempt to cash in on their home-field advantage when they host Game Three of their American League Division Series against the Orioles on Wednesday.
New York broke open a tight series opener in the ninth inning Sunday but dropped a 3-2 nail-biter at Camden Yards on Monday as Baltimore closer Jim Johnson bounced back from a disastrous outing to set down the Yankees in order and notch his first career postseason save.
Game 2 followed the same pattern as the opener, with New York scoring a run in the first inning and Baltimore plating two in the third. The difference may have been the fourth inning as the Orioles allowed the tying run to score on Monday but escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam Tuesday to preserve their lead.
Wei-Yin Chen notched the win in his postseason debut while 40-year-old Andy Pettitte took the loss, failing to add to his all-time playoff victory total of 19. The Orioles improved to 76-0 when leading after seven innings and 30-9 in one-run games this year. They posted a 6-3 record at Yankee Stadium during the regular season.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Miguel Gonzalez (9-4, 3.25 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Hiroki Kuroda (16-11, 3.32)
Gonzalez won his final three starts of the regular season and allowed two runs or less in five of his last six outings. The 28-year-old Mexican was impressive on the road in his first major league campaign, going 6-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 11 games – including two relief appearances.
Gonzalez was 2-0 against the Yankees, with both victories coming in New York. He yielded four runs while striking out eight over 6 2/3 innings July 30 and fanned nine in seven scoreless frames Aug. 31.
Kuroda also finished the regular season strong, winning four of his final five decisions. The 37-year-old native of Japan had the majority of his success this year at home, where he went 11-6 with a 2.72 ERA in 19 outings.
Kuroda split his two starts against the Orioles, both of which were at Yankee Stadium. He allowed one run over seven innings in a win April 30 while yielding four runs over 8 1/3 frames in a loss to Gonzalez on Aug. 31.
1. Yankees LF Ichiro Suzuki went 1-for-5 on Monday to extend his hitting streak at Camden Yards to 21 games.
2. New York (245) and Baltimore (214) were the top two teams in the major leagues in home runs during the regular season, but have combined for one over the first two games of the series.
3. Yankees RF Nick Swisher has one hit in his last 33 postseason at-bats with runners in scoring position.