Orioles have swift answer to Yanks’ 5-spot

What a bizarre beginning to Tuesday night’s game. The Yankees have been in need of an offensive outburst, and they got it by putting up a five-spot in the first inning only to be trumped by the Orioles, who came back to score seven runs in the second against Ivan Nova.

The Yankees had three runs home before they made an out in the first against righthander Chris Tillman, whom they have regularly roughed up in the past but who has pitched very well since coming back from Triple A. He entered the game with a 1.66 ERA. In three previous starts at Yankee Stadium, however, Tillman pitched to a 12.27 ERA. It is hard to believe that could go up, but it did after the first inning to 14.25.

Just like rapid fire, the Yankees jumped on Tillman with a double by Derek Jeter, a RBI single by Curtis Granderson and a two-run home run by Robinson Cano, who shook off a 0-for-14 slump. Nick Swisher, back on the field at first base after recovering from a strained left hip flexor, kept up the rally with a single. One out later, Eric Chavez singled Raul Ibanez to third base. Tillman cost himself another run when he couldn’t handle a slow roller to the box by Ichiro Suzuki. Ibanez scored on the play. Russell Martin, who is finally starting to hit with authority, knocked in the fifth run with a single.

The spread proved very short-lived. After giving up two singles at the start of the second, Nova struck out the next two batters and seemed headed to a scoreless inning. Then everything came apart. Mark Reynolds doubled in a run, and Omar Quintanilla singled in two. Nick Markakis singled before Nova walked .225-hitting J.J. Hardy on four pitches, surely the biggest glitch of the inning, to load the bases.

Chris Davis made Nova pay for that mistake by driving a 0-1 curve off the top of the fence and over the wall in left-center for the first grand slam of his career. Just like that, it was 7-5 Orioles, and the Yankees were again in need of more offense. Doubles by Lew Ford and Wilson Betemit produced Baltimore’s eighth run in the third inning, by which point all but one of the Orioles had gotten a hit and all but one had scored a run.

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