Yanks ride early strike to hold off Orioles

Yanks ride early strike to hold off Orioles

NEW YORK -- Brian McCann slugged a two-run homer and Carlos Beltran delivered a key two-run double to set it up for the Yankees' knockout bullpen duo, helping secure a 5-4 victory over the Orioles on Friday at Yankee Stadium.

Dellin Betances was credited with the victory after taking over with two outs in the seventh inning, and closer Andrew Miller was credited with his Major League-leading 13th save after a perfect ninth. Betances and Miller have combined to hurl 33 1/3 innings without permitting an earned run at the back of the Yanks' bullpen.

"They're dominant. They're two of the best relievers in baseball," McCann said. "We have the luxury of putting them back to back, and that's a big reason we're sitting here where we're at."

Baltimore right-hander Miguel Gonzalez was chased after four innings, permitting five runs and five hits. Manny Machado and Delmon Young collected fifth-inning RBIs off Yankees starter Adam Warren, who completed just 4 2/3 innings. Jimmy Paredes contributed a two-run single in the sixth inning off reliever Chris Martin.

"One of the reasons we're winning games is because the games that we're ahead, they're closing the door," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Those are important games. Those are tough losses when you lose those."

Girardi on victory

Mac attack: McCann saw a green light on a 3-0 count and got a pitch he liked, taking Gonzalez deep in the first inning. The blast measured at 354 feet and took advantage once again of Yankee Stadium's cozy dimensions. Since signing with the Yankees, McCann has hit 22 of his 26 homers in the Bronx.

"You read the situation there," McCann said. "He gives us the green light and if we get a good pitch to hit, he lets us go. ... It's nice to get the lead with our pitching. We like our chances to win those games."

McCann's two-run homer

Another short O's start: Gonzalez became the latest member of Baltimore's rotation to struggle, lasting a season-low four innings and giving up a season-high five runs. After going eight consecutive starts with at least six innings, the O's have fallen short of that mark in their last three games.

"You've got to go out there and try not to nibble too much," he said. "I was missing a little bit, but that's part of the game. Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don't." More >

Gonzalez whiffs Gregorius

Carlos cracks one: Beltran's second season in pinstripes has been off to a rough start, but he came through in a big third-inning spot against Gonzalez. The Yanks were in danger of wasting a big chance after Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner once again got on base to open the inning, but Beltran delivered a two-run double to right-center field that chased home the Yanks' fourth and fifth runs. McCann was thrown out trying to score from first base.

"I feel better at the plate, I've been hitting some balls hard," Beltran said. "But at the same time, the results that I'm looking for are not there yet, so I just need to control what I'm controlling. Come in every day, working in the cage, working on my swing. When it comes, it comes." More >

Beltran's two-run double

Jones' scary crash: Orioles center fielder Adam Jones had a scary moment in the bottom of the fifth inning, crashing up against the center-field fence as he made a leaping attempt at Alex Rodriguez's deep fly. Jones remained down after the attempt, and manager Buck Showalter and assistant athletic trainer Brian Ebel came out to check on him.

"I'm fine," said Jones, who didn't want to elaborate as to whether he felt the crash more in his ribs or shoulder. "Doesn't matter, I'm fine. I'm playing tomorrow."

Jones shaken up on play

"I was honest with them and I've been honest with you guys -- for what they're paying me, I'll do anything. They've got me for a few more years. That's the honest truth. I came here to win. I didn't come here for saves or a certain role. I'm here to win."
-- Miller

Miller notches the save

"He plays the game so hard, you wonder more why that doesn't happen. He stays down more than a second, it's never about drama with him, like so many guys you see. If he's down more than a second, he got a pretty good bang there. He was more upset about not catching it, initially."
-- Showalter, on Jones' attempt at the wall

McCann's first-inning homer came on a 3-0 count, as did Alex Rodriguez's 660th career homer on May 1 at Fenway Park. The Yankees are the only team this season with two 3-0 homers, and have not had more than three 3-0 homers in a single season dating back to at least 1988, according to STATS Inc.

Orioles: Baltimore will send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET. The left-hander took a no-decision Sunday against the Rays despite yielding just two runs on seven hits and a pair of walks with four strikeouts in six innings.

Yankees: Right-hander Chase Whitley (1-0, 0.75 ERA) will make his third start of the season as the Yankees entertain the Birds in the third game of this four-game series. Whitley has allowed nine earned runs in 5 2/3 innings (three appearances, one start) against the Orioles, all coming last season.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.