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Yankees defeat Orioles 3-1, head to ALCS

New York's CC Sabathia played the role of Justin Verlander and threw a complete-game victory over Baltimore to win the decisive fifth game of their ALDS.

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O's fans say goodbye

The mood is wistful over at Camden Chat, SB Nation's Baltimore Orioles blog. And why not? The team staved off the brutal AL East schedule all season despite a patchwork rotation and having few players with household names. But that all ended Saturday night in Game 5 of the ALDS, a 3-1 loss to the New York Yankees and a dominant CC Sabathia.

Over 160 commenters so far have joined Stacey in saying goodbye to the best O's team this century. After avoiding elimination twice already this postseason, the third time wouldn't be the charm for Baltimore:

"Time and time again this season the Orioles defied logic and expectation, and before we knew it we had a legitimately good baseball team on our hands. Did they play over their heads? Maybe. But that doesn't mean they weren't good, because they were. They were good and exciting and special. And going into tonight, they faced elimination for the third time this postseason."

Baltimore still found themselves in the game late, scoring one run in the eighth to pull to within 3-1 with the bases still loaded. But those bases stayed loaded, and the O's ran out of the magic that seemingly propelled them this far. Stacey, for one, seemed grateful the ride lasted as long as it did, as bitter as the end may have been:

"I hoped they might have some fight in them, that something magic might happen, but no. They went quietly into the night, and took with them the Orioles season.

"So there you go. A bad way to end it, certainly, but given that this is the first time the Orioles have brought me sustained joy since I was a teenager, I can't be too upset. Just a little sad."

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Yankee fans exalt CC Sabathia after Game 5

The New York Yankees rode their ace CC Sabathia to a complete-game, one-run performance in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. They face the Detroit Tigers in the League Championship Series Saturday night, with first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.

Yankee fans are pretty stoked Sunday morning -- understandably so -- and Sabathia is the main reason why. In his starts in Game 1 and Game 5, he got all but one out. Even when the Yankees' bats didn't deliver to their full potential in Game 5, Sabathia was more than enough, holding the Orioles to just one run, even escaping a bases-loaded situation in the eighth inning.

William Juliano of Pinstriped Bible broke down just how historically dominant Sabathia was in such a big moment, comparing his game score (80) against history, and history was kind to the big lefty:

"By going the distance, Sabathia became the first Yankees' pitcher to throw a postseason complete game since Roger Clemens one-hit the Mariners in game 4 of the 2000 ALCS. In addition, Sabathia's game score of 80 was the highest since Clemens beat the Mets in game two of the Subway Series as well as the 14th best mark in franchise history. Sabathia's gem was also only the third complete game by a Yankee in sudden death and first since Ralph Terry closed out the 1962 World Series. Finally, the left hander's 17 2/3 innings were the most by any Yankee pitcher in a five-game postseason series, and his two victories pushed the Bronx Bombers' record to 10-2 in postseason games he has started."

Sabathia's start was only surpassed in this year's postseason so far by Detroit's Justin Verlander, who threw a complete-game shutout Thursday to send the Tigers to the Bronx. Manager Jim Leyland will have another day to let Verlander rest up, but if both skippers stay true to their rotation, it would be Sabathia vs. Verlander in Game 4.

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Umps issue statement on foul pole HR call

A hard-hit ball in the sixth inning of the deciding ALDS game between the Yankees and Orioles was reviewed and declared foul. The umpires told why after the game.

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Sabathia goes distance, Yankees heading to ALCS

CC Sabathia pitched a complete game, Mark Teixeira stole a crucial base, and the Yankees downed the Orioles, 3-1, in Game 5 of the American League Division Series.

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Sabathia escapes big jam, Yankees up 3-1 in 8th

Through seven innings, it sure looked like CC Sabathia was going to throw a shutout in the Yankees' biggest game of the season. He'd thrown only 86 pitches, given up just one hit and one walk, and just one Oriole runner had touched second base all evening. Backed by three runs, Sabathia (and the Yankees) seemed invincible.

Well, nobody's invincible. In the eighth, Sabathia suddenly seemed vulnerable. Matt Wieters led off with a single, and rookie Manny Machado drew a five-pitch walk. Sabathia fell behind in the count to Mark Reynolds, but ultimately struck him out swinging on a gutsy full-count curveball.

Sabathak

Crisis averted? Yes, but for just a moment. Because with right-hander David Robertson warming up in the bullpen and Sabathia's pitch count mounting, Lew Ford drove a grounder toward left field that a diving Derek Jeter couldn't quite corral. Wieters scored, with Machado stopping at second.

Next, Robert Andino hit a slow chopper to Sabathia's right; by the time he snagged the ball, nobody was covering third base and his throw to second was too late for the force-out.

Bases loaded. One out.

Sabathia struck out Nate McLouth.

Bases loaded. Two outs.

Sabathia didn't strike out J.J. Hardy. This time he struck a blow for democracy, instead inducing a weak grounder to Jeter, who charged, threw, and got Hardy at first base by a full step.

It was a little hairy there for a while. But while Sabathia didn't have to pitch out of the big jam, he did. And so heading to the bottom of the eighth, it's Yankees 3, Orioles 1. - neyer

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Granderson's double-decker makes it 3-0 in 7th

Here's the abbreviated list of Major League home-run leaders over the last two seasons:

1. Curtis Granderson (84)

Hey, I told you it was abbreviated. Entering Game 5, though, Granderson hadn't hit any home runs, in fact had just one hit (a single) in 17 at-bats. In the third inning of Game 5, he made it 1 for 18.

In the fifth, though, he made it 2 for 19 with a ringing line-drive single. And in the seventh, he did this:

Yankshr2

That blast made the score 3-0. And with CC Sabathia doing his best Justin Verlander impression, time is definitely running out on the Orioles' chances.

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Craig Sager in the land of Yankees fans

And for the first time, his jacket was not the loudest, most obnoxious thing in the frame.

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Ichiro doubles home Jeter, Yanks up 2-0

Or, "Headlines that would freak people out ten years ago." With one out in the sixth, Derek Jeter drew a walk against Jason Hammel, bringing up Ichiro Suzuki. On the first pitch, Ichiro drove a liner into the right-center gap that just missed being a home run:


That put the Yankees up 2-0, and it also was the beginning of the end for Hammel. He just got back from an injury, so it's not like he was going to throw a Verlanderian, 130-pitch game, but it was still an earlier exit that he could have anticipated when he was shutting 16 consecutive Yankees down to start the game. Hammel threw 5⅔ innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks, striking out six.

Troy Patton came in to relieve Hammel, striking out Raul Ibanez with two on and two out to escape the jam. But the Orioles have three innings to score two runs off CC Sabathia, who has thrown 74 pitches through six innings.

- Grant

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Nate McLouth misses game-tying homer by inches

Essentially, for this entire Division Series the Orioles and the Yankees have been within one run of each other; the only exception is the ninth inning of Game 1, when the Yankees hammered Jim Johnson.

This game, of course, was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth, when Mark Teixeira stole a base for the first time since he was in high school and Raul Ibanez hit a ball that would have been a double play if Teixeira had still been on first base, but instead was an RBI single.

It's just been one of those series when every inch or three seems to matter.

Here's our latest and greatest example, courtesy of CC Sabathia, Nate McLouth, and physics:

Foulball

The umpires looked at the video and it's possible that the baseball just nicked the fair pole on its way to the stands. But there's certainly no compelling evidence until someone finds the ball and sees some yellow paint. So a foul ball it was, and McLouth struck out on the very next pitch to end the inning.

The Yankees are ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, and the time for more Orioles magic is growing short.

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Mark Teixeira, five-tool player, puts Yanks up 1-0

Jason Hammel was perfect through the first four innings of Game 5, but in the fifth inning, he allowed a clean single to Mark Teixeira for the first Yankees runner of the game:


That wasn't all, though. Hammel now had to deal with Teixeira on the bases, which means throw after throw over to first base, worrying about the runner more than the hitter. Or, it might mean no throw at all, and no first baseman playing near the bag, which allows Teixeira to walk halfway to second before Hammel is finished with his windup.

The latter. It meant the latter, and Teixeira stole second easily after walking into his lead.

That became a big deal when Raul Ibanez rapped a single into right-center, allowing the dynamic Teixeira to score easily. A groundball from Nick Swisher turned into a double play, and after a Curtis Granderson single and stolen base, Russell Martin flied out to end the inning.

The damage was done, though, and the Yankees hold a 1-0 behind the legs of Mark Teixeira. Hammel worked almost as hard in the fifth -- throwing 25 pitches -- as he did in the first four inning combined.

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Somebody got a hit! Somebody got a hit!

For posterity's sake, this is what the last base hit in Major League history looked like:

Oshit

That was Nate McLouth, Big League Slugger.

Still no score in Game 5, heading to the bottom of the 9000th fourth inning in the Bronx.

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Three innings down, nary a base runner

CC Sabathia is on pace for a 111-pitch perfect game, if you want to keep that theme going. Through three innings, Sabathia has struck out four, and he's looked good doing it. He struck out Matt Wieters, Manny Machado, and Mark Reynolds in consecutive at-bats over the second and third innings, with Machado going down on three pitches.

Hammel hasn't been quite as sharp as Sabathia, but he's been as effective. In the third inning, he allowed three line-drive outs to the hitters he faced, but they all found gloves. Just like the Yankees, hitting into all that bad luck. When will this curs-ed franchise catch a break?

The lineups have turned over, though, so let's see if anyone can do something that resembles anything at all.

- Grant

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Who's got Lew Ford in the office pool?

Through two innings in Game 5, it's just more of the same: 12 batters up, and 12 batters down. Hats off to CC Sabathia and Jason Hammel, etc.

In the top of the third, Lew Ford will come up second for the Orioles. Now, it's fair to ask why a .183 hitter with no power is DH'ing for a playoff team. I mean, you can ask. I don't think anybody's got a good answer.

So instead of wondering why the O's couldn't come up with a good or even decent right-handed hitter for the biggest game of their season, let's instead simply celebrate Jon Lewis Ford.

He's 36. He opened this season with the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League. Before joining the Orioles in August, he hadn't played in the majors since 2007. He hadn't played well in the majors since 2004 (when he finished 24th in the American League Most Valuable Player balloting!).

And yet here he is, with a chance to become more than just a footnote in this sport's grand history. If you're an Orioles fan, you probably should wonder. If you're a baseball fan, you probably should rejoice. Lew Ford is one of the reasons why we love this game so much.

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CC Sabathia on pace for 90-pitch perfect game

Well, he is. After the first inning, at least. There's a chance -- anything can happen in baseball -- that he falls off the pace. But he got through the first inning in impressively quick fashion, getting Nate McLouth out on a first-pitch fly ball, J.J. Hardy on a three-pitch fly ball, and Adam Jones on a six-pitch strikeout. Sabathia didn't even have to break a sweat. I mean, he did, but he didn't have to.

Meanwhile, Jason Hammel is on pace for a 144-pitch complete game, which is simply absurd! But he also had a strong first inning, getting Derek Jeter to look at strike three, and inducing right-side grounders from both Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano.

It's too bad no one is there to see it:


Traffic time of day et cetera. But still: Wow.

- Grant

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Managing the Yankees: Not as easy as you think.

Sure, we all want to manage the team with no natural spending limits. But Joe Girardi's got problems, too.

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Baseball's best Division Series Game 5's

For a while we didn't have them and while some want them to go away again, we can't deny there have been some memorable ones.

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Yankees Game 5 lineup: A-Rod out, Chavez in

So it's come to this. Alex Rodriguez, 37, 14-time All-Star, three-time MVP, and erstwhile challenger to Barry Bonds's home run record, is now a platoon player. Well, Jason Hammel the starting pitcher for the Orioles is a right-hander, so it's not even about strict platooning. It's about wanting someone else in the lineup.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi famously pinch-hit for Rodriguez in Game 3, and Raul Ibanez rewarded him with two home runs to win the game. Girardi less famously pinch-hit for Rodriguez in Game 4, using Eric Chavez, who lined out to end the game.

In Game 5, it might be Rodriguez who does the pinch-hitting, as Chavez gets the start at third:

1. Derek Jeter - SS
2. Ichiro Suzuki* - LF
3. Robinson Cano* - 2B
4. Mark Teixeira# - 1B
5. Raul Ibanez* - DH
6. Nick Swisher# - RF
7. Curtis Granderson* - CF
8. Russell Martin - C
9. Eric Chavez - 3B
*. CC Sabathia - LHP

A-Rod, out. Guy hitting ninth, in. Goodness.

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