BALTIMORE — Mark Reynolds hit two of Baltimore’s season-high six home runs – three in a wild eighth inning – and the Orioles climbed back into a first-place tie with the Yankees in the AL East by defeating New York 10-6 on Thursday night before a euphoric sellout crowd at Camden Yards.
Adam Jones’ leadoff homer in the eighth off David Robertson (1-6) put Baltimore ahead 7-6 after the Yankees rallied from a five-run deficit in the top half. Matt Wieters followed with a single and Reynolds hit a drive into the left-field seats. Chris Davis then slammed the first pitch from Derek Lowe over the right-field wall.
Wieters and Robert Andino also connected for the Orioles, who have won 10 of 13 – a run that includes three of four over New York.
After trailing the Yankees by 10 games on July 18, the surging Orioles pulled even Tuesday, then dropped a game back on Wednesday before taking the opener of this important four-game series.
Reynolds, who also went deep in the sixth, has homered in three consecutive games and has eight long balls in his last seven, including two in each of the three wins against New York. With Reynolds leading the way, the Orioles hit six home runs in a game for the first time since Aug. 28, 2007, against Tampa Bay.
Baltimore has played several significant games in September in recent years, but this is the first time since 1997 that the Orioles have been in the hunt for a playoff berth. The fans reacted accordingly, cheering from the first pitch to the very end.
The Yankees always attract huge crowds, but this time an estimated 90 percent of those in attendance were cheering for the home team. The full house and the boisterous orange-clad fans conjured memories of a time long ago, when Baltimore made two consecutive playoff appearances in 1996-97 prior to a run of 14 consecutive losing seasons.
New York trailed 6-1 in the eighth before mounting a comeback fueled by four walks. After Alex Rodriguez hit an RBI double and Curtis Granderson singled in a run, the Yankees put runners on second and third with two outs. The fans rose to their feet in anticipation after Pedro Strop prepared to throw a 1-2 pitch to Russell Martin, but Strop ultimately issued a walk to load the bases for pinch-hitter Chris Dickerson, who drew a four-pitch walk to make it 6-4.
Ichiro Suzuki followed with his third hit, a two-run single, before Darren O’Day (7-1) got the final out.
Orioles starter Jason Hammel gave up one run and six hits in five-plus innings in his first outing since going on the disabled list in mid-July. The right-hander took a line drive by Robinson Cano off his elbow in the fourth, but stayed in the game.
After Hammel warmed up the rowdy fans with a 1-2-3 first, three straight singles against David Phelps in the bottom half produced a run before Wieters hit an opposite-field, three-run drive to left for a 4-0 lead. It was his 19th home run of the season and the first since he connected off Phelps on Saturday.
New York got a run in the fourth on Cano’s hit off Hammel’s arm and an RBI single by Granderson. In the Baltimore half, Andino hit his career-high sixth home run to make it 5-1.
Reynolds made it 6-1 with a solo shot off Joba Chamberlain.