Baltimore won on Saturday night to grab a 9-8 advantage in the season series and pull into a tie for the division lead. It's the teams' third tie in the past week, after the Yankees led by 10 games as recently as July 18. The Orioles haven't been on top since June 6.
The first of the teams' recent ties atop the division came on Tuesday, when Orioles left-hander Zach Britton -- Sunday's starter -- continued his recent roll with a victory at Toronto. Britton (5-1, 4.15 ERA) struck out eight and allowed four hits over seven shutout innings, making an impression on catcher Matt Wieters.
"I think when [Britton] misses a few times, he's able to adjust and make a good pitch -- it's not just sort of aim for the middle, he's able to hit a good spot," Wieters said.
The win was Britton's fourth straight, and the 24-year-old has posted a 0.94 ERA in that span, with a 29-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Yankees starter Freddy Garcia (7-6, 5.09 ERA), on the other hand, has surrendered five earned runs in two of his last three outings. That includes Tuesday at Tampa Bay, when he served up a season-high three home runs in 5 1/3 innings.
"That's my fault today," Garcia said after allowing five hits and four walks. "I gave up five runs; we lost, 5-2. Like I say, I don't make the pitch when I need it, and that's why I got hurt."
Yankees: A-Rod looking strong since return
Alex Rodriguez returned from a broken hand on Monday and hasn't left the lineup since, making his sixth consecutive start on Saturday. Two have come at third base and four at designated hitter.
Rodriguez has hit safely in all six games and homered in two straight, going 7-for-23 (.304) with two doubles, two homers and six RBIs. Girardi has liked what he's seen thus far.
"He's had some big hits for us. I think he's played pretty well," Girardi said. "We've been able to put him in the lineup every day; I know it's not at third base, but we've been able to put him in the lineup every day. I've been pleased with what I've seen. He's made adjustments at the plate; I've seen that as well. Sometimes you make an out your first couple at-bats and then you come up with a big hit against the same guy -- he's made adjustments."
Orioles: Bad news for Markakis
Right fielder Nick Markakis suffered a broken bone in his left thumb on Saturday when he was hit by a CC Sabathia fastball in the fifth inning. He is expected to miss about six weeks, which covers the rest of the regular season and a good deal of the postseason, should the O's qualify.
"We're hoping he can be back to play deep into the playoffs for us," manager Buck Showalter said.
Markakis already missed more than a month earlier this season after breaking the hamate bone in his right wrist. He is batting .298 with 13 home runs and an .834 OPS.
Saturday's game pushed the Orioles' season attendance to 1,778,041, passing last season's total. It's the team's highest mark since 2009.
Seven of Mark Reynolds' last nine home runs have come against the Yankees, all since Aug. 31.
Garcia has pitched four games against the Orioles this season, two in relief, and compiled a 3.68 ERA in 14 2/3 innings.
Britton has a 6.95 ERA in five career outings against the Yankees, and gave up seven runs in 2 2/3 innings on Aug. 1 in the Bronx.