NEW YORK -- Steve Pearce hit a tiebreaking home run off Adam Warren in the eighth inning on Wednesday and Stephen Drew endured a rough night in the field as the Orioles posted a 5-3 victory over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
The loss kept the Yankees 1 1/2 games back of the Blue Jays, who lost in Boston on Wednesday, in advance of a four-game set between the American League East's top two clubs that is scheduled to begin on Thursday night in the Bronx.
Pearce's 10th home run of the season proved to be the difference after the Orioles tied the game on a fifth-inning Drew error that allowed two runs to score. Baltimore chased left-hander CC Sabathia after just 4 2/3 innings in his otherwise strong return from the disabled list, and Chris Davis added an RBI ground-rule double in the ninth.
"We are going to try to win out," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his team, currently tied with Boston for fourth place. "We take every day as a [fresh] start. I tell them all the time in advanced meetings, 'Today is an opportunity to do the things we are capable of doing.' And that's what we are going to try to do Friday against another good club [in the Royals]."
Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez rang up eight strikeouts in a seven-inning performance, permitting just four hits without a walk. Carlos Beltran drove in all three Yankees runs, hitting a solo homer in the first inning -- his 15th long ball of the season -- and knocking a two-run single in the third inning.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Pearce comes up clutch: After just missing a homer earlier in the night -- instead being robbed by the Yankees' Dustin Ackley just in front of the left-field wall -- Pearce hit a no-doubter in the eighth, sending Warren's 2-2 pitch into the O's bullpen for the go-ahead run.
"It definitely feels great to contribute, especially in a big game," Pearce said. "We need this win, and everybody did good. We're all backed into a corner. Ubaldo did great, [Chris Davis] keeps hitting the ball. We know we're a long shot, but we're still not out of this thing."
O's get two on Drew's error: Sabathia was one pitch away from escaping the fifth inning but drilled Davis with a two-strike offering, prompting the Yankees to call upon Warren. The right-hander got Jonathan Schoop to hit a grounder to third that should have ended the inning, but Chase Headley's tailing throw got past second baseman Drew for an error that allowed Dariel Alvarez and Nolan Reimold to score.
"For me, defense has always been there," said Drew, who also booted a first-inning grounder that cost him a chance at a double play. "For tonight, it's just one of those things that's tough to swallow. It's frustrating. I'm not going to say it's not, for me especially. Today's over with. It's something that I should have had." More >
Jimenez gives O's length: Jimenez gave the O's their first start of more than 5 2/3 innings in 11 games, tossing seven strong frames and retiring 13 of his final 14. It was the righty's first quality start since Aug. 8, and Jimenez -- who walked six in his last game -- did not issue a free pass.
"You want to go with everything you have for the last month of the season. I know things haven't been the way we wanted them to after the second half [started]," Jimenez said. "But you have to finish strong. You have to go with everything you have until the last day." More >
CC's return: Sabathia had not pitched since Aug. 24 due to inflammation in his right knee, but the big lefty is now wearing a brace as he rebuilds his pitch count. The Yanks' target was 80-90 pitches, and so Sabathia was visibly frustrated when he drilled Davis with his 84th and final offering. Warren is being rebuilt as a starter due to the loss of Nathan Eovaldi, and threw 47 pitches to prepare for his next assignment.
"I feel good, being able to go out and pitch and do what I want to do," Sabathia said. "Obviously, I didn't throw enough strikes, but the brace held up. I feel confident going out there from here forward." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Wednesday's win snapped a five-series losing streak for Baltimore, which had last won a series versus the Twins from Aug. 20-23.
The Yankees have won eight of their last 12 games, but have been unable to make up any ground in the division. Toronto is an identical 8-4 over that same span.
DAVIS STAYS HOT
A night removed from hitting his Major League-leading 41st homer, Davis reached base five times Wednesday. Davis drove in two runs with two hits, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.
"Like all our guys when they're out of the lineup, they remind you, just the influence of a guy like [J.J. Hardy] being back. We don't lament it. We don't talk about guys being hurt, everybody's got them, the Yankees have them. Stevie's an integral part of what we've done the last couple of years, and tonight is a reminder." -- Showalter on Pearce, who missed time last month with an oblique injury.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Baltimore will enjoy an off-day at home on Thursday before taking on the Royals this weekend. The O's lost three of four games in Kansas City last month and will send rookie Mike Wright to the hill opposite lefty Danny Duffy on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Yankees:Luis Severino (3-2, 2.04 ERA) takes the ball on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET as the Yankees open a key four-game series with the division-leading Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Severino has won three straight outings and worked six innings of three-run ball in a start at Toronto on Aug. 16. Left-hander David Price (14-5, 2.43) goes for Toronto.