What a difference a week makes.
The New York Yankees, winners of six straight, look to avenge last weekend's three-game sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles with one of their own Sunday afternoon in the Bronx.
Since last Sunday's 4-2 loss in Baltimore, the Yankees (48-39) have swept Minnesota in a four-game set before taking the first two of this series, including a 5-4 come-from-behind victory Saturday.
Lyle Overbay had three hits and Eduardo Nunez, playing his first game in two months, came off the disabled list to drive in two runs for New York, which has won four of the five meetings with the Orioles at Yankee Stadium this season.
``Nuney is kind of a free spirit," manager Joe Girardi said. "I don't think he thought a lot about not having a lot of at_bats (while rehabbing a left side strain)."
Baltimore (48-40), which jumped out to a 3-0 lead Sunday, has dropped four of five since sweeping the Yankees despite Chris Davis staying hot against the AL East rivals. He hit a two-run homer in the first and now has six while batting .342 in 11 meetings with New York in 2013.
Davis' 33rd homer and 85th RBI equaled both of his totals from all of last season, matching the numbers in exactly 200 fewer at_bats. Six of his last nine hits have left the ballpark, though he's batting only .220 over his last 12.
``Anytime you're leading early in the game, you expect to continue to lead, or at least put up some more runs,' said Davis, whose 33 homers before the All-Star break are tied for fourth all-time among AL players. "Leads in this game don't last very long, especially in this ballpark and with their offense."
Davis has homered twice off Hiroki Kuroda this season, including last Sunday when Kuroda (7-6, 2.95 ERA) allowed all four runs over six innings.
The right-hander had given up two earned runs in each of his previous three starts prior to that defeat. He has a 4.13 ERA in eight outings, though, since giving up five runs in two innings of a 6-3 loss to the Orioles on May 22.
Kuroda originally was scheduled to start Friday's series opener, but a sore left hip flexor delayed his outing. An MRI didn't show any tears.
"That's the best news that we could have gotten," Girardi said. "He's felt better."
Kuroda is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA in three starts versus Baltimore this season and will try to avoid a second loss to Jason Hammel.
Hammel (7-5, 5.19) allowed two runs and struck out six in 6 2-3 innings to earn the victory May 22. He also beat the Yankees 5-3 on April 13 after giving up two runs in six innings.
The right-hander, though, is 0-3 with a 5.55 ERA over his last six starts - all Baltimore defeats - and ranks among the worst in the majors having given up 18 home runs. He allowed five runs and nine hits in seven innings of Tuesday's 5-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox, including a pair of homers.
``It's just balls that are up in the zone that get hit out this year weren't last year,' Hammel said. ``It's kind of just the way I'm going right now. The mistakes are being amplified.'
Baltimore leads the majors with 119 homers, but its pitching has allowed an MLB-worst 117.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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