[WE data via FanGraphs]
Unlike last night, when the Yankees got ahead early and stayed there, there were plenty of point when it looked like this one wasn't going to end up in the win column. Through the first three innings, CC Sabathia had allowed eight baserunners (two of whom came around to score) and thrown 63 pitches. Meanwhile, the Yanks had put five men on but stranded four of them, while the other, Derek Jeter, was caught stealing by Matt Wieters.
Although forecasts predicted the rain would hold out a bit longer, the skies opened up as Robinson Cano led off the top of the fourth. With only three half-innings still to be completed before it became an official and a deficit of two runs to make up, it appeared the clock was ticking on the Yankees. But Cano bought a little time with an opposite field base hit. Chris Tillman gave the Yankees a little more when he sailed a pickoff attempt wide of first, allowing Cano to advance to second. Jorge Posada moved Cano over to third on a grounder and Curtis Granderson scored him easily on a deep sac fly to left to bring the Yanks within one.
The bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth came and went with the minimum number of batters and the score stuck at 2-1. Mercifully, when the broadcast returned for the home half of the fifth, they showed the grounds crew retreat from the post behind the tarp back underneath the stands, their presence apparently no longer needed.
It was still raining, but not quite as hard, and the Weather Gods had apparently granted the Yankees a reprieve. Sabathia worked around a lead off single to Miguel Tejada and kept the Yankees one behind heading into the top of the sixth.
The tides were about to turn, but the Yankees needed some help from the O's defense and perhaps the sloppy conditions. Leading off the inning, Mark Teixeira bounced a ball in between first and second just out of the reach of Julio Lugo. Next up, A-Rod ripped a single to left-center that hopped over Luke Scott and allowed Teixeira to advance to third. Cano followed with a smooth game-tying base knock to right that moved A-Rod ninety feet away from putting the Yanks ahead, still with no one out. Posada tapped weak double play ball to first that would have got the run home either way, but Caesar Izturis couldn't deliver the throw back to first in time. Still, the damage was done and the Yanks were up 3-2.
While Sabathia struggled mightily in the early going, he threw scoreless 10, 11 and 11 pitch innings in the 4th, 5th and 6th and was available to come back out for the seventh and was greeted by a bunt single by Izturis. Julio Lugo dropped another bunt to sacrifice him to second and the O's were threatening. After Miguel Tejada grounded out to third, Nick Markakis stepped to the plate with two outs. Instead of hitting it the opposite way like he so often does, he chopped one up the first baseline. Cano had a great read on it and made a ridiculous diving stop, popped to his feet and nearly threw Markakis out at first base to end the inning. He had preserved the Yanks' lead but they weren't out of the woods yet.
Ty Wigginton ran the count full before drawing a walk to load the bases and pass the baton to Luke Scott. Sabathia had allowed a single to Scott on the night but also struck him out twice on sliders. CC started him off with a curveball outside and then Scott fouled back a fastball to level the count. The count was 1-2 after Scott swung over a sinker and Sabathia went back to the well for one more slider and struck him out swinging to escape the inning.
Frankie Cervelli knocked in an insurance run a few batters later and Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera combined for a scoreless eighth and ninth as the Yankees locked up their tenth straight win against Baltimore. It was far from perfect as the Yanks had another rough night with runners in scoring position (2 for 13) and Jeter both grounded into a double play and got caught stealing but they got the job done and look to complete the sweep tonight behind A.J. Burnett.