Starter Bartolo Colon (W, 8-6) fought his way through five innings, holding the Orioles to two runs on five hits, and Nick Swisher went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run (13) to lead New York to an 8-3 win over Baltimore in game 1 of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.
The Orioles threatened early, as Mark Reynolds came to bat with two outs and the bases loaded in the first. But Colon quickly got ahead 1-2 in the count and struck the third baseman out swinging with a 94 mph four-seam fastball.
“When Bartolo’s fastball is on, man, it’s impressive and a lot of fun to watch,” Swisher said. “He’s a guy that works fast. The guys behind him, we’re ready to go at all times.”
The strikeout of Reynolds was big, because Brett Gardner gave New York a 2-0 lead with a two-run single in the third.
“Huge hit by Gardy there early in the game,” Swisher said. “Great starting pitching by Bartolo. And when they tied it up 2-2, for us to go back on top was a big momentum shift for us, and then [we] kind of ran away with it late.”
Colon threw 35 pitches in the fourth, during which Craig Tatum and J.J. Hardy knotted the game at 2-2 with RBI groundouts. Swisher snapped the tie when he hit a two-run homer to right off starter Chris Tillman (L, 2-4) (4.1 IP, 8H, 7R, 5 ER), and catcher Francisco Cervelli made it 5-2 with an RBI single to center.
Colon had far less trouble getting through the fifth, needing only 15 pitches to retire Guerrero, Lee and Reynolds.
“I think they just dug themselves a hole [in the count] quickly, and that’s why I was able to make it out of the fifth inning,” Colon said. “The guy who came behind me (Cory Wade) did his job, and what’s important is that we won the game.”
In the fifth, the Yanks would add three more runs on Eric Chavez’s RBI’s single, Jorge Posada’s RBI groundout and Chris Dickerson’s run-scoring single to center.
Reynolds hit a solo homer (23) off Wade (3.0 IP, 2H, 1R) in the eighth that reduced the Yanks’ lead to 8-3, the eventual final.
In game 2, the Yankees stormed out to a 12-0 lead in the first inning thanks in part to some bad defense by the Orioles. The outburst was capped by Nick Swisher’s two-run home run (14) off starting pitcher Zach Britton (6-8) (0.1 IP, 7H, 9R, 6 ER).
Ivan Nova (W, 9-4), who was saved by Brett Gardner in the top half of the first when the left fielder made a sliding, inning-ending catch on Matt Wieter’s liner with the bases loaded, limited the Orioles to two runs in seven innings.
Among several offensive standouts for the Yankees, Curtis Granderson had four hits in six at-bats and scored three runs, and Robinson Cano went 5-for-5 with two doubles and five runs batted in.
New York’s 12-run output marked a franchise high for runs scored in the first inning of a game. The runs were also the most the Yanks have scored in a single inning in 2011, surpassing their previous season high of nine.