Tonight marked Nick Swisher’s night to wear a whipped cream pie, courtesy of AJ Burnett of course, after lifting a sac fly in the 10th inning that secured a 6-5 Yankee victory over the Orioles – only after trailing 5-0 after four-and-a-half innings.

Swisher said, “It doesn’t get any better than that pie.” When I receive my diploma, I’d like for someone to pie me just so I know exactly what that’s like.


The main story of the first half of tonight’s game was yet another bad start for Phil Hughes. Struggling with low velocity on his fastball – reaching 92 mph just twice – Hughes lasted only four-and-a-third innings. He was throwing consistently in the 88-89 mph range after just the second inning. Nick Markakis hit a two-run homer in the third, off an 86 mph cutter that completely missed Russell Martin’s target. In the fourth, the O’s Luke Scott doubled and scored on Mark Reynolds’ drive that Curtis Granderson caught despite leaping into the wall, giving Baltimore a 3-0 lead. Swisher also crashed into the wall catching a fly ball in the fourth, one batter before Markakis lined an RBI double to right that ended Hughes’ short night. Bartolo Colon relieved and gave up an RBI single to Vlad Guerrero, giving Baltimore a 5-0 lead. That’s all they would get.

The main story of the second half was the Yankee offense, and that offense knocking around Baltimore’s bullpen. O’s starter Jake Arrieta pitched well, allowing three runs in six innings of work – a “quality start” for Arrieta. His bullpen, though, allowed just as many runs (three) in nearly half as many innings (just 3.2 innings). The Yankees’ rally began in the home half of the fifth with back-to-back from Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano, with Cano hitting a double to deep left field to bring home the Yanks’ first run of the game. It all went uphill from there.

Bartolo Colon threw a 1-2-3 inning in the top-half of the sixth. The Yankees had first and second with one out when Mark Teixeira doubled to bring home Brett Gardner and advance Derek Jeter to third. A-Rod hit a sac fly to right in the next at-bat, bring home Jeter and cutting the O’s lead to 5-3. After another zero-run inning from Colon in the top-half of inning seven, Jason Berken replaced Arrieta. Swisher worked a walk to begin the inning and two batters later Curtis Granderson doubled to deep right center, moving Swisher to third. Russell Martin grounded out to shortstop in the very next at-bat, scoring Swisher and pulling the Yanks within a run, 5-4.

With all the clutch RBI and big hits that came late in tonight’s ballgame, without a doubt tonight’s play of the game came in the eighth with the Yanks on defense. In the eighth, Bartolo Colon allowed a one-out walk and then immediately allowed a single which advanced pinch-runner Felix Pie to third. With one away and runners on the corners, Joba Chamberlain replaced Colon. Joba promptly unleashed a wild pitch to the backstop. Pie bolted from third, but the ball ricocheted perfectly so catcher Russell Martin could fire to Joba covering home. Chamberlain, his leg, and his (listed) 240-pound body blocked Pie, who never touched home plate and was correctly called out. The play kept the Yankees within a run, 5-4, though not exactly how we would have liked. With a runner advancing to second on the wild pitch, and two outs, O’s batter Mark Reynolds struck out. In related news, the sun will rise tomorrow and Mark Reynolds will strike out…again.

The Yanks were quiet in the home-half of the eighth, as were the Orioles in the top of the ninth. Trailing all night and down to their last three outs, Jorge Posada continued his torrid start, leading off the ninth with a 405 foot solo shot to right center – tying the game at 5-5. The homer was Jorge’s fifth of the young season, and you have to love the way Georgie is swinging the bat in April. After Granderson doubled again and brought Yankee Stadium to the point of near madness, the next three batters were sat down in order. Mo relieved Joba and allowed a lead-off single to Nick Markakis before settling down and forcing a double play and a two-out grounder to retire the side.

Teixeira started the bottom of the tenth with a lead-off walk, followed by an A-Rod double to deep left which advanced Tex to third. Robbie Cano lined out to shortstop in the next at-bat, which brought Swisher to the plate with one away and two runners begging to score. Swisher lifted a fly ball to right that brought Teixeira home – the winning run – and brought a pie to his face.

Key Stats

5: Hughes has now allowed at least five runs and pitched fewer than five innings in each of his first three starts this season, the third Yankee starter in the live ball era to do so. The others are Chien-Ming Wang in 2009 and Brian Boehringer in 1995.

4-20: The O’s have lost 20 of 24 games in the Bronx since July 30, 2008.

What’s Next?

After just two against Baltimore, the Yanks welcome the reigning AL-champion Texas Rangers for a three-game set. The last time these two faced each other was last October in the ALCS, where the Rangers won in six – and won two of three in the Boogie Down Bronx.

Matt Harrison (2-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-0, 6.10 ERA)