Russell Martin led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking home run off Jim Johnson, CC Sabathia turned in a solid pitching performance and the New York Yankees beat the host Baltimore Orioles 7-2 in the opener of their best-of-five American League Division Series.
BALTIMORE — Russell Martin led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking home run off Jim Johnson, CC Sabathia turned in a solid pitching performance and the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 Sunday night in the opener of their American League Division Series.
Sabathia allowed two runs and eight hits in 8-2/3 innings to help the Yankees spoil the Orioles’ first home playoff game since 1997.
The left-hander, who went 0-2 in three starts against Baltimore in the 2012 regular season, has a 17-4 career record against the Orioles.
“Fastball command was good, worked off that,” Sabathia said.
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Of Sabathia, Baltimore outfielder Chris Davis said, “He just kind of wore us down.”
Sabathia is 6-1 with the Yankees in the postseason, 4-0 in the division series.
With the score 2-all, Martin drove a 2-0 pitch from Johnson into the left-field seats. It was the first of four consecutive hits off Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves.
Raul Ibanez and Derek Jeter followed with singles, Ichiro drove in a run with a swinging bunt and, one out later, Robinson Cano hit a two-run double.
Ichiro — who has at least one hit in 10 of his 11 career postseason games — and Ibanez are former Mariners.
In his seven previous appearances against New York, Johnson allowed one run in seven innings and had three saves. Nick Swisher capped the five-run ninth with a sacrifice fly off Tommy Hunter.
“It’s just tough going, period,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Jimmy has been great for us all year and will be again. Tonight just wasn’t his night.”
Game 2 of the best-of-five series will be Monday night in Baltimore.
The opener was delayed by rain for 2 hours, 26 minutes.
Tigers lead A’s 2-0
DETROIT — Two months ago, the Detroit Tigers designated outfielder Don Kelly for assignment. He ended up back on the major-league roster in September and, despite a .186 average, made the roster for the ALDS.
For the second consecutive ALDS, Kelly has delivered a big run at a big time.
Entering the game as a pinch-runner for designated hitter Delmon Young in the eighth, Kelly scored the tying run on a wild pitch and drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth as the Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics 5-4.
Detroit leads the best-of-five series 2-0. Game 3 is Tuesday in Oakland.
Last year, Kelly homered for the first run in a 3-2 Detroit victory that eliminated the Yankees in Game 5.
Ex-Mariners pitcher Doug Fister started for the Tigers against the A’s and gave up two runs in seven innings.
Reliever Al Alburquerque got the victory; he angered some Oakland players when he fielded Yoenis Cespedes’ grounder in the ninth and kissed the baseball before tossing it to first base.
“It got under my skin,” A’s outfielder Josh Reddick said. “It was very unprofessional.”