Thanks to the long ball, the Baltimore Orioles are again tied with the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East.
The Orioles hope to continue their recent offensive success against the Yankees while trying to take over sole possession of the division lead Friday night at Camden Yards.
Mark Reynolds homered twice and Matt Wieters hit a three-run shot for three of Baltimore's season-high six home runs during Thursday's 10-6 victory over New York to open this pivotal four-game set. The outcome left the teams tied atop the division for the second time in three days.
If the opener was indication, these clubs could be in for a wild weekend at Camden Yards, which will be sold out for a second straight night Friday.
The Orioles (77-60) have won 10 of 13 overall, including three of four over New York (77-60) during that stretch. Baltimore has won eight of 11 against the Yankees since dropping the first four of the season series. It's totaled 18 runs and 23 hits while winning the last two.
"They are playing with a lot of confidence right now,' said New York's Alex Rodriguez, who went 1 for 4 Thursday to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. "You have to tip your hat to Baltimore.'
New York, which owned a 10-game division lead on July 18, has lost 11 of 16.
The Orioles built a 6-1 lead, but the Yankees tied the score with five runs in the eighth. Baltimore's Adam Jones broke that tie with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the frame.
"That's the biggest hit I've ever had in my life," said Jones, who's 8 for 17 with two homers in the last four games. "Everything else up to this point has been leading up to this."
Chris Davis added a solo shot and Reynolds delivered a two-run blast to highlight the four-run eighth for Baltimore, which has hit 24 home runs against the Yankees in 2012.
Wieters is batting .197 in his last 22 games, but .404 (23 for 57) with four homers while hitting safely in all 15 versus New York this season.
Reynolds, 6 for 11 with four home runs and nine RBIs in his last three games, has hit .440 (11 for 25) with six homers and 11 RBIs in his last seven against the Yankees. He's posted three multi-homer games in the last four versus New York.
Reynolds hit a pair of homers Sunday off New York starter Phil Hughes (13-12, 4.18 ERA), who allowed five runs in five innings of the Yankees' 8-3 defeat. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA versus Baltimore this season - all in the Bronx.
Hughes is 1-2 with an 8.20 ERA in four starts at Camden Yards, but has not pitched there since 2010. Though Hughes is 10-4 with a 3.56 ERA at home this season, he's 3-8 with a 5.03 ERA away from the Bronx.
Ichiro Suzuki went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and Curtis Granderson drove in a pair of runs Thursday for the Yankees. Suzuki was 1 for 11 in his previous five games while Granderson was mired in a 4-for-38 (.105) stretch before recording two hits.
New York will hope to bounce back against Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen (12-8, 3.79), who gave up four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 loss at New York on Saturday.
The rookie left-hander is 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in three starts against the Yankees.
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