The last time they took the field, the New York Yankees were shut out for the first time as an ailing Alex Rodriguez missed his first game.
The slugger is expected back in the lineup for Tuesday night's opener of a three-game home series against a Baltimore Orioles club that looks much improved.
Rodriguez was scratched before Sunday's 4-0 loss at Boston with flulike symptoms. The third baseman is off to a solid start, going 9 for 28 with three homers and five RBIs.
Manager Joe Girardi said he expected to have Rodriguez back for this game.
"He looked wiped out," Girardi said. "Hopefully, the rest (Sunday) and the rest (Monday) and he'll be back at full strength."
This is the first matchup between these AL East rivals since news broke during spring training of critical magazine comments by Baltimore manager Buck Showalter about Derek Jeter.
In the April edition of Men's Journal, Showalter said Jeter is "always jumping back from balls just off the plate. I know how many calls that team gets."
The remarks were surprising since the Yankee captain played 15 games in 1995 for Showalter, who managed New York to a wild-card berth that season to end the franchise's 14-year postseason drought.
The Orioles (6-3) look like a more competitive club under Showalter, who led them to an AL-best 34-23 record after taking over Aug. 3. Baltimore split six meetings with the Yankees (5-4) under Showalter after losing 10 of the first 12 matchups last season.
Baltimore lost two of three over the weekend to Texas, falling 3-0 on Sunday. Brian Roberts went 0 for 12 in the series while Nick Markakis was 2 for 12.
"I can speak for myself and Brian at the top of the order, I think we can do a little better job of getting on base," Markakis told the Orioles' official website. "But we've been facing some tough pitching. Other than that, I think we're pretty pleased with our record right now considering the way we're swinging the bats."
Roberts hit .308 in six games against New York last season to lead all Baltimore regulars.
The Orioles will try to slow down Robinson Cano, who batted .444 with five homers and 12 RBIs against them last season. Cano had a strong weekend in Boston, going 6 for 12.
He should be excited to see Chris Tillman (0-0, 3.38 ERA) on the mound. The Yankees second baseman is 6 for 7 against the right-hander, while Rodriguez is 3 for 6 with a homer.
Tillman is 1-1 with a 5.52 ERA in three starts against New York. The Orioles have won his first two outings this season, and he gave up four runs in 4 2-3 innings in a 9-5 victory over Detroit on Thursday.
A.J. Burnett (2-0, 4.09) will make his first 2011 road start after going 0-3 with a 6.21 ERA in his final seven of last season. Burnett, 7-0 with a 3.91 ERA in 12 April starts with the Yankees, yielded two runs over six innings Thursday in a 4-3 win over Minnesota.
The veteran right-hander is 11-4 with a 4.47 ERA in 18 starts against the Orioles, going 4-3 with a 4.01 ERA in nine outings since joining New York in 2009.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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