BALTIMORE — The New York Yankees escaped from Camden Yards with their lead in the AL East intact, and as a bonus, slugger Curtis Granderson worked his way out of an annoying slump.
Granderson came off the bench to hit his 35th homer and drive in five runs, and New York beat the Baltimore Orioles 13-3 on Sunday to regain sole possession of first place in the division and earn an important split of the season series.
Derek Jeter also homered for the Yankees, who lead the Orioles by one game with 22 left. Each team won twice in a four-game set that drew 173,572 fans, including 40,346 in the finale.
“The bottom line is we’re in first place,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “The one thing that you want to be able to do is just rely on your club. You don’t want to have to rely on other people.”
Jeter, who had three RBIs and scored twice, said, “We lost a couple games, but we did battle back. Today was a big one for us. We have a much-needed day off (Monday), then we go to play Boston. I like the way we played.”
New York finished 9-9 against Baltimore this season. Had the Orioles won Sunday, they would have received home-field advantage in a playoff game if the teams finish tied atop the division. Baltimore would have also had home-field advantage if the Yankees and Orioles finish tied for both wild-card berths.
Now, if the teams are tied at the end of the regular season, record within the division will be the tiebreaker.
“We’ll try to make it not matter,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.