Originally published: October 9, 2012 12:49 AM
Updated: October 9, 2012 1:58 AM
BALTIMORE — The Yankees and Orioles finished their regular-season series 9-9 and didn’t settle the AL East until the final day. So it’s little surprise that the Orioles didn’t fold up their tents after losing Game 1 of the ALDS on Sunday.
Baltimore evened the series at a game each Monday night with a 3-2 win at Camden Yards. And they did it behind rookie Wei-Yin Chen, 27, who shrugged off his complete lack of postseason experience to outduel Andy Pettitte, the winningest pitcher in postseason history.
Chen allowed two runs (one earned), eight hits and one walk in 61/3 innings. Pettitte was denied his 20th postseason win. He gave up three runs in seven innings plus one batter, allowing seven hits, walking one and striking out five.
“That’s why we play five games,” said Orioles closer Jim Johnson, who was charged with five runs in the ninth inning of Game 1 but saved Game 2. “Every time we take the field, we compete. We’re going to play hard. Obviously, it’s unfortunate to lose this first game, especially at home. We’ve battled all year. Why would we make it easy now?”
The series now shifts to Yankee Stadium Wednesday night and becomes a best-of-three. All three games, if needed, will be played in the Bronx.
“We have to go there and handle business,” Adam Jones said. “It’s not going to be easy. But postseason ain’t easy.”
The Orioles still will be the underdogs, but manager Buck Showalter said they don’t see themselves as prohibitive underdogs. “The David and Goliath or whatever you’re talking about, that’s not something that’s a mentality for us in there,” Showalter said. “There’s no flukes in baseball. There’s no Cinderellas. You play too many games. You play 162 games . . . It’s just another opportunity to show your mettle.”
The Orioles showed it Monday night. After falling behind 1-0 in the first and seeing Pettitte retire the first eight batters, they went ahead with a two-out, two-run rally in the third, with Chris Davis’ two-run single making it 2-1. Mark Reynolds’ RBI single in the sixth gavea the Orioles a 3-1 lead.
The Orioles, who were 29-9 in one-run decisions in the regular season, relied on their bullpen to get the final eight outs after Chen departed to cheers from the home crowd.
After the Yankees pulled to within one run in the seventh on Eduardo Nuñez’s double and Derek Jeter’s RBI single, Darren O’Day struck out Alex Rodriguez for the second out as Ichiro Suzuki stole second. Lefty Brian Matusz intentionally walked Robinson Cano before getting Nick Swisher on a flyout.
Matusz worked around a leadoff hit in the eighth. Johnson, who had 51 saves this year, finished the job in the ninth by getting Jeter and Ichiro on groundouts and striking out Rodriguez.
“We had no doubts about Jim,” Matt Wieters said. “We tried to get him a lead tonight and hopefully get him back in the game. We were able to get him in there and he did what he’s been able to do all year.”
Said Johnson, “It would have been nice, obviously, to have a big lead, but I kind of figured that’s the way things usually work out, where you have a rough one and then you go back out. You’ve got to trust your stuff.”