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O's top Yankees, move back into tie

Mark Reynolds
Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds hit a solo homer in the second inning.
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BALTIMORE (AP)

In a duel for first place in the AL East, neither team was happy after a tense game that went down to the final questionable out.

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The Orioles beat the Yankees 5-4 on Saturday night to regain a share of the top spot in the division with New York, but Baltimore lost right fielder Nick Markakis for six weeks in the process.

Markakis broke his left thumb, the result of being struck by a fifth-inning pitch from left-hander CC Sabathia. The injury will keep him sidelined for the rest of the regular season and deep into the playoffs — if Baltimore gets that far.

Markakis can only hope the Orioles make a lengthy postseason run and he has a quick recovery.

''Yeah, hopefully,'' he said. ''We'll see how it goes. It's just a matter of healing. I'll be in a brace for a while and hopefully it will heal up quicker than I think it will.''

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said, ''It breaks my heart personally, and for him. I know how much this time of the season means to him. We'll go forward from there.''

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Markakis is the third leadoff hitter the Orioles have lost this season. He was shoved to the top of the lineup after season-ending injuries to Brian Roberts and Nolan Reimold.

The Yankees, meanwhile, were angry over the way the game ended. Mark Teixeira, in his return from a strained left calf, was called out at first base at the end of a double play despite a desperate head-first slide.

Replays, however, indicated the call by umpire Jerry Meals was wrong.

"It was not a bang-bang play. He was safe. He was clearly safe,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ''You hate to lose a game that way, but he missed it.''

Mark Reynolds, Lew Ford and J.J. Hardy homered for the Orioles, who have won 11 of 15 overall and nine of the last 13 against the Yankees. With a victory Sunday, Baltimore will win the season series (10-8) for the first time since 1997.

Trying to secure a victory for Joe Saunders (2-1), Baltimore closer Jim Johnson entered with a 5-3 lead in the ninth. He promptly gave up three straight singles, the last a bunt by Derek Jeter, to load the bases with no outs.

Nick Swisher drove in a run with a forceout. Johnson then went to 3-0 on Teixeira, who was playing for the first time in 11 games. On a 3-2 pitch, Teixeria hit a grounder to second that turned into a double play.

Well, at least that's how it looked in the box score.

''I didn't really feel like we lost the game. I feel like we got cheated out of it,'' New York's Russell Martin said. ''Umpires are human. They're going to make mistakes. We made our share of mistakes today, and that's probably one of the reasons we lost.''

The final out gave Johnson his 42nd save, improved Baltimore's record in one-run games to 25-7 and delighted Orioles fans in the sellout crowd of 46,067.

Baltimore has hit 12 home runs, three by Reynolds, in the first three games of a four-game showdown that concludes Sunday.

Coming off a victory Friday night, New York was seeking its first winning streak since mid-August. The Yankees have now gone 22 straight games without successive victories.

Sabathia (13-5) gave up five runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings. The three homers he allowed were a season high, and the left-hander has now yielded a career-high 21 for the year.

It was the first time in six starts Sabathia surrendered more than three runs. The Yankees have lost each of his last three starts, something that's happened only once before - in May 2010. He's now 16-4 lifetime against Baltimore, with two of those losses coming this season.

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Asked if he felt healthy, Sabathia replied, ''I do. There is no excuse for the way I pitched today. I just couldn't make my pitches.''

Alex Rodriguez hit his second homer in two games for New York to extend his hitting streak to 12, his longest run since a 12-gamer in 2009.

Making his third start for Baltimore since coming over in a trade with Arizona, Saunders allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings. The left-hander was pulled with two on in the sixth, and Darren O'Day came in to strike out Martin and pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson.

Granderson had another chance to deliver in the eighth after Rodriguez homered off Pedro Strop to make it 5-3. With runners on the corners and two outs, Brian Matusz entered and retired Granderson on a foul pop.

NOTES: Swisher went 0 for 5 and is hitless in his last 24 at-bats, part of a 2-for-39 skid. ... Baltimore has 107 homers at home, 14 short of the club record set in 1996. ... Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte pitched a simulated game at Camden Yards, throwing 45 pitches without discomfort. Pettitte, who's been on the DL since June 28 with a fractured left ankle, is expected to throw around 60 pitches in another simulated game in Boston next week. ... New York sends Freddy Garcia (7-6) to the mound in Sunday's finale. The Orioles will start LHP Zach Britton (5-1).

Tagged: Orioles, Yankees, CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Lew Ford, J.J. Hardy, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Nick Markakis, Jim Johnson, Mark Reynolds, Joe Saunders

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