Yankee Stadium—To the delight of the 47,081 fans in attendance, the Yankees captured the ALDS. The Yanks and the Orioles played extremely competitive baseball throughout the 2012 season. They split the 18 regular season contests, and went to the final innings of the fifth game of the ALDS before a victor was determined.
Pitching was dominant in the final game of the series. No one on either team reached base during the first three innings. Nate McLouth, with single to lead off the fourth, was the first Oriole to reach base. The base hit did not faze a locked-in Sabathia as only one of the next 12 batters reached base. Matt Wieters, the first batter in the sixth walked but was erased in a double play.
Three singles and a walk in the eighth led to the only run scored by the orioles in the contest.
Sabathia retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to end his complete game win. He won two of the games to give the Yankees the series win. The 17.2 innings pitched the ace of the Yankees rotation surpassed the 15.2 pitched by David Cone in 1995 for the most innings pitched by a Yankee in the ALDS. Interestingly, Cone threw the ceremonial first pitch that preceded the game.
A Yankee batter did not reach first until Mark Teixeira began the fifth with a single to right. Ignored by the Oriole defense, the recently injured first baseman took a walking lead off first and stole second. Joe Girardi, the Yankees skipper, said of the play, “He picked the right pitch. He picked a curve ball. If it was a fast ball, he’s out.”The steal was crucial to the Yankee win as Raúl ibañez, the hero of game #3, singled to drive Teixeira across the plate for the first run of the game.
The effective 1-2 punch of Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki led to a second Yankee run in the following inning. With one out, Jeter walked. Ichiro drove the recently injured Jeter in to score with a double to center.
The third and final run for New York was driven in by weapon most used by the team in 2012, the home run. Curtis Granderson homered with one out in the seventh.
The Yankees did not get a hit in any inning other than the three during which they scored.
After the game, Showalter praised the members of his team, “They were a great group. It’s been about the most fun I’ve had watching these guys play.” The young players looked no different to Girardi, “you have a lot of young kids who play the game the right way and play very hard.”
Several Yankees players described the competitive nature of New York-Baltimore games all year. Jeter commented, “We knew it was going to be tough. We went back and forth all season. According to Ibañez, “It was a battle all the way.” Granderson remarked, “The whole season was a battle with the Orioles.”
The next battle begins on Sunday night against the Detroit Tigers. Veteran Andy Pettitte, who has not pitched against the Tigers since 2008, starts for the Yanks.