NEW YORK (AP) — Baltimore's bullpen escaped a two-on jam with no outs in the eighth as Alex Rodriguez struck out yet again, and the Orioles and New York Yankees were tied at 1 after nine innings Wednesday night in Game 4 of their AL division series.
Baltimore's Nate McLouth homered and made a leaping catch against the left-field wall to save run, and Robinson Cano hit an RBI groundout.
With the Yankees leading the best-of-five series 2-1, the Orioles were trying tried to stave off elimination. A Baltimore win would force a Game 5 on Friday night and push all four division series to the maximum for the first time.
New York had a runner every inning and threatened to take the lead in the eighth. Singles by Ichiro Suzuki and Mark Teixeira off Luis Ayala put two on with no outs, and Cano's grounder to second against Brian Matusz advanced the runners.
Side-arming right-hander Darren O'Day relieved and struck out Rodriguez on four pitches, dropping A-Rod to 2 for 16 (.125) with no RBIs and nine strikeouts in the series. Nick Swisher flied weakly to right, falling to 1 for 34 (.029) with runners in scoring position in his postseason career.
Curtis Granderson, who struck out twice, also is slumping in the series, 1 for 15 (.067) with eight Ks.
The Orioles wasted a chance in the ninth when pinch runner Lew Ford was picked off first by Rafael Soriano.
McLouth had homered into the right-center field seats, reaching down for a 91 mph fastball from Phil Hughes leading off the fifth inning. McLouth has six hits in his last six at-bats against Hughes with three doubles, plus two walks.
With Russell Martin on first with one out in the bottom half, McLouth ran down Jayson Nix's drive while crashing into the wall and doubled up the slow-footed catcher trying to retreat to first, with shortstop J.J. Hardy making a nice relay.
Joe Saunders, who beat Texas in last week's one-game, wild-card playoff, allowed one runner in each of the first five innings and two in the sixth.
Derek Jeter, playing despite a foot injury that forced him out of Game 3, hit an opposite-field double down the right-field line leading off the sixth and took third on Suzuki's sacrifice bunt. Teixeira walked, and Cano drove in Jeter with a grounder to second.
Tommy Hunter relieved and Rodriguez struck out, prompting another round of boos.
Hughes gave up four hits in the first six innings, struck out seven and walked three, throwing 90 pitches. He allowed 35 home runs during the regular season, tied for second-most in the majors.
Saunders allowed three hits in 5 2-3 innings, walked four and struck out five.
New York, playing its first game since announcing the death of manager Joe Girardi's father, was coming off its dramatic 3-2, 12-inning win Wednesday behind Raul Ibanez's home runs in the ninth and 12th innings. The Yankees were a win from meeting Detroit or Oakland in the AL championship series starting Saturday.
Jeter was moved to designated hitter after fouling a pitch off his foot in Game 3, with Nix starting at shortstop and Rodriguez back at third base. Ibanez pinch hit for Nix with two outs in the ninth and grounded to first.
Rodriguez, pinch hit for by Ibanez in the ninth inning in Game 4, was dropped from third to fifth in the batting order.
Ibanez pinch hit in the ninth Thursday night and struck out to end the inning.
Game 1 winner CC Sabathia would pitch a fifth game for the Yankees. Orioles manager Buck Showalter had not announced his possible starter.
Hughes struggled with his control early, walking leadoff batters in the first, third and fourth innings and escaping two-on trouble all three times. He also threw out a runner at the plate on a comebacker, saving a run.
Baltimore put its first two runners on, with McLouth walking and Hardy reaching on a bunt down the first-base line that stayed fair for a single. Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters (1 for 15, .067) flied out.
Rodriguez walked on a 3-2 pitch leading off the bottom of the second, but Nick Swisher and Martin flied out, and Granderson fanned.
Manny Machado walked leading off the third and McLouth doubled into the right-field corner. Hardy then hit a high one-hopper that Hughes gloved on the third-base side of the mound, and the pitcher made a quick throw home for Martin to apply the tag to the rookie. Hughes struck out Davis and retired Jones on a bouncer to second.
Nix doubled to left leading off the bottom half. Jeter fouled off eight straight pitches before striking out on a curveball in a 13-pitch at-bat, ISuzuki also fanned on a curve and Teixeira struck out on a fastball.
Wieters walked starting the fourth and took third on Ryan Flaherty's one-hop single off the right-field wall, which caromed directly to Swisher. Machado then struck out.
New York threatened in the seventh when Flaherty dropped Martin's one-out pop to second for an error and Nix singled with two outs off Troy Patton. Jeter took a called third strike from Ayala.