Yankees vs. Orioles: 7 Biggest Moments in Game 2 of ALDS
For Baltimore and their fans, the message was clear: win or face near-certain death at Yankee Stadium.
A momentary sigh of relief for the orange-and-black. The birds beat the Yanks 3-2. Rookie Wei-Yin Chen out-dueled playoff-seasoned left-hander Andy Pettitte.
Here are the seven biggest moments in this hotly-contested game.
The Yankees had potential to blow this game open in the top of the first inning.
After Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki led off the game with back-to-back singles off Wei-Yin Chen, Alex Rodriguez smacked an ankle-level line drive up the middle.
Orioles' second baseman entered the frame at stage right and made a spectacular snag to rob A-Rod of what could have been a huge hit.
After, Andino flipped to J.J. Hardy at second base to double off Jeter.
Ichiro, Wieters Play Tag
Derek Jeter will forever be known for “the flip” to home plate in the 2001 ALDS.
Now, Ichiro Suzuki may forever be remembered for “the dance” at home in the 2012 ALDS.
The play occurred right after Andino’s gem.
With two outs and Camden Yards buzzing, Yankees 2B Robinson Cano crushed a Chen offering off the right field wall.
With Suzuki racing home from third, Orioles’ right fielder Chris Davis fired a perfect relay to Andino. Andino in turn threw a perfect strike to Wieters.
Someone add music from the Three Stooges here.
Though Suzuki should have been out by 10 feet, Suzuki danced around Wieters’ diving tag—not once, but twice—to put the Yankees up 1-0.
Mr. O'Tober Strikes
Two out hits are often at a premium in the postseason.
This game was no exception.
In a rare event, Pettitte lost command in the third inning, which enabled the birds to load the bases with two outs.
With fearless approach, Davis stepped to the plate and delivered a clutch single to right field to score Andino and Nate McLouth.
In the first two games of this series, Davis is 4-8 with two RBI.
A-Rod Fools Hardy
The Orioles had a huge opportunity to take a 3-1 lead in the third inning.
With Hardy on second, Adam Jones hit a slow, seeing-eye single into left field…just below Jeter’s outstretched glove.
The ball was hit so slow, Suzuki looked as if he would not throw home. Recognizing this, Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale adamantly waved for Hardy to come home.
But in vintage veteran form, A-Rod made a clever gesture with his glove to make it appear Jeter got the ball and threw it to him.
Hardy was so sold he ducked to prevent getting hit in the noggin with Jeter’s magical throw.
Matt Wieters popped up to Cano in the next at-bat to end the threat.
Tension built for Orioles' fans in the bottom of the sixth inning as the birds clung to a 2-1 lead.
While excitement flourished in the crisp night air, fans clad in orange and black knew the Yankees were one swing away from delivering catastrophe for the second straight night.
The Orioles needed more runs.
Fortunately for Baltimore, Wieters led off the sixth inning with a double into the right center field gap.
In the next at-bat, Mark Reynolds (normally a dead pull hitter) delivered a single to right to score Wieters from second.
Jeter Returns the Favor
With the Orioles up 3-1 in the top of the seventh inning, Eduardo Nunez doubled to lead off the inning.
The next at-bat, Jeter stepped to the plate and drove Nunez home with yet another clutch single to cut the Orioles' lead to one run.
It appeared fans had another nail-biter on their hands.
Jim Johnson Redeems Himself
Less than 24 hours after getting shelled for five runs in the ninth inning of Baltimore's 7-2 loss, Orioles' closer Jim Johnson found redemption.
He pitched a scoreless inning in the ninth, getting Jeter, Ichiro and A-Rod out in that order.
In the process, Johnson dropped his postseason ERA from 108.00 to 27.00.
What a difference a day makes.
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