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Hardy drives in go-ahead run, Orioles force Game 5

Oct 12, 2012 - 5:12 AM Bronx, NY (Sports Network) - J.J. Hardy's RBI double in the 13th inning kept the Orioles' season alive as Baltimore took a 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 4 of their American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium.

The series is now tied at 2-2 with the decisive Game 5 taking place on Friday in New York.

The hit made a winner of Pedro Strop (1-0), who allowed one hit and struck out two over two scoreless innings of relief.

Nate McLouth hit his first career postseason homer in the victory, while Jim Johnson pitched a perfect 13th to record his second save of the series.

David Phelps (0-1) surrendered the deciding run to take the loss.

Robinson Cano knocked in the lone run for New York, which hit 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.

"It's playoff baseball and the games are extremely tight. Usually the difference in these games is one hit. That basically has been the difference," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's been very good pitching. They controlled the bats for the most part, and it's come down to one hit."

Both starters were effective as Joe Saunders allowed one run on three hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings for Baltimore and Phil Hughes surrendered a run on four hits and three walks with eight strikeouts through 6 2/3 innings for the Yankees.

The Orioles had not advanced a runner past first base following McLouth's home run in the fifth inning until Manny Machado led off the 13th with a double into right-center field.

McLouth followed with a grounder to second to move Machado to third before Hardy lifted a ball over Ichiro Suzuki's head in left field for a double, plating the deciding run.

Baltimore had been 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position prior to Hardy's hit.

"We had our backs up against the wall. It was win or go home and we knew it, so it was intense out there," Hardy said. "It was nice to come through there in the 13th."

Clay Rapada and Derek Lowe would combine to strand Hardy at third, but Johnson retired Mark Teixeira, Cano and pinch-hitter Eric Chavez in order in the bottom of the 13th to close out the game.

Chavez was replacing Alex Rodriguez, who was being pinch-hit for in the deciding frame of a one-run game for the second straight day.

Raul Ibanez had homered in place of Rodriguez in the ninth inning on Wednesday and later hit the game-winning home run in the 12th, but Chavez was not as productive, lining out to third to end the game.

After the Orioles left a man on third in the first inning, they were again poised to put some runs on the board in the third when a Machado walk and McLouth's double placed runners on second and third with no outs.

But Machado was tagged out at the plate on a Hardy bouncer back to the mound that Hughes threw home before Chris Davis struck out and Adam Jones grounded out to second to keep Baltimore scoreless.

New York would then squander Jayson Nix's leadoff double in the bottom of the third and Baltimore left a man on third in the fourth inning before the Orioles broke through in the fifth when McLouth opened the frame with a blast over the right-field wall.

The Yankees manufactured a run to knot the game in the sixth inning as Derek Jeter slapped a leadoff double to right field, advanced to third on a Suzuki sacrifice bunt and came home on Cano's grounder to second.

Teixeira, who walked prior to Cano's grounder, moved to second on the play, but Tommy Hunter entered from the bullpen and fanned Rodriguez to keep it a 1-1 game.

Luis Ayala returned for the eighth inning for Baltimore after stranding a man on second in the seventh and allowed back-to-back singles up the middle to Suzuki and Teixeira to start the frame, resulting in Brian Matusz being called in from the bullpen.

Matusz was then replaced by Darren O'Day following a Cano grounder to second that placed runners on second and third, and O'Day struck out Rodriguez before inducing a fly ball to right field by Nick Swisher to end the threat.

New York would not move a runner past first base for the remainder of the contest.

"We're going to sleep fast because there's another challenge around the corner," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's an honor to be playing a Game 5 against a team like the Yankees."

Game Notes

Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain was forced to leave the game in the 12th inning after getting hit in the elbow with the barrel of a broken bat ... Baltimore improved to 3-6 all-time in the postseason against New York ... The Orioles left eight men on base ... The game lasted four hours and 31 minutes.