Ryan, bottom of order lift Yankees over Orioles

Ryan, bottom of order lift Yankees over Orioles

NEW YORK -- Brendan Ryan watched from the sidelines as his Yankees grabbed the American League East's top spot in the first half, and after two lengthy stints on the disabled list, the utility infielder finally feels like he was able to contribute.

Ryan smashed a two-out, run-scoring single off Wei-Yin Chen in the sixth inning, providing the difference in New York's 3-2 victory over the Orioles on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

"It's been obviously pretty frustrating. I haven't really gotten to contribute in the first half at all, with injury after injury," Ryan said. "Hopefully that's all behind me. I was excited to get the opportunity today, and obviously glad that I was able to come through."

The deciding hit came after Nathan Eovaldi held Baltimore to a pair of runs over 5 2/3 innings, watching the game tied on run-scoring hits by Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy in the sixth. Hardy's hit came off left-hander Justin Wilson, who picked up the victory in relief. Dellin Betances recorded four outs and Andrew Miller pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save.

Miller seals the win

"The bullpen has been amazing," Eovaldi said. "We got the win -- that's all that matters. My entire season, the bullpen's been amazing."

Eovaldi holds Orioles to two

Chen was charged with three runs on 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings. Alex Rodriguez lifted a first-inning sacrifice fly and Chase Headley stroked a second-inning RBI double off Chen, who logged his sixth consecutive quality start, the longest streak of any O's pitcher this season.

Headley's RBI double

Two-out thunder: The bottom part of Tuesday's batting order won't remind anyone of the storied '27 Yanks, but they came through in a key sixth-inning spot. Didi Gregorius reached on a single and the light-hitting Ryan followed by smoking a Chen offering down the left-field line for a run-scoring double. The mini-rally atoned for the Yanks leaving two men in scoring position against Chen in the second inning; New York still finished 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

"It meant a lot to our club," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We give up the lead, then Didi gets the single with two outs. Sometimes that seems harmless. Then you get a double from Ryno, take the lead and don't relinquish it. Outstanding job by our pitchers tonight against a club that's explosive. They did a really good job." More >

Not enough: The Orioles finally got on the board in the sixth inning, when Wieters sent an RBI single into right field to score Jimmy Paredes. It was Wieters' 12th RBI since his first game of the season on June 5. Moments later, Hardy followed suit with a single of his own into right field, scoring Adam Jones to knot the game at 2, but it wasn't enough for the club that has had its offensive struggles this year.

Wieters' RBI single

"It's a good team and they played well tonight," Wieters said. "One run is going to be the way it's decided for a lot of these games."

Hardy's RBI single

A late escape: Wilson and All-Star reliever Dellin Betances teamed to preserve the lead against a seventh-inning Baltimore threat, with help from Jacoby Ellsbury, who ran down Chris Parmelee's deep one-out liner to center field. Betances entered and struck out Manny Machado, stranding the potential tying run at third base, then pitched around a single in a scoreless eighth inning.

Ellsbury's lunging catch

"I love it. That's something that I love out of the bullpen," Betances said. "I remember as a starter, when I left guys on I wanted them not to score. So I try to do the best job I can anytime I come in in that situation. ... I love adrenaline. Pitching when I'm at home and just trying to help the team win no matter the situation."

Betances gets Machado

Not so happy birthday: On his 30th birthday, Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen gave up 10 hits and three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings. Though he still gave the O's a chance with his performance, the 10 hits were his second most this season and the 6 1/3 innings snapped a three-game streak of him pitching at least seven innings. The last time he gave up three earned runs dates back to May 30 against the Rays.

Chen's quality start

"I wasn't able to control the situation as I wanted to in the first couple innings and allowed a couple extra-base hits. And I allowed two runs in the first two innings," Chen said. "I think that gave the team some burdens, and that's why we lost the game today." More >

The Yankees successfully challenged a pickoff play in the first inning, as a review showed that Mark Teixeira indeed tagged Machado in time, overturning umpire Tim Welke's initial call. The review took exactly one minute. The Yankees are 11-for-17 in challenges this year.

Machado out after review

Orioles: The O's are expected to activate right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.00 ERA) and give him the ball Wednesday in the second game of this three-game series at 7:05 p.m. ET Gausman was sent to Triple-A Norfolk during the All-Star break to keep him on a regular schedule. A solid outing could keep him up at the Major League level.

Yankees: Right-hander Ivan Nova (1-3, 3.42 ERA) takes the ball for his fifth start of the season on Wednesday. Nova took his third straight loss on July 11 at Boston in the Yanks' 5-3 defeat, marking the first time in his career that he has lost three consecutive starts.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.