The Yankees wanted to take care of business ahead of a monster four-game series which looms later this week when the first-place Blue Jays come to the Stadium.
“We know we have seven games with them, but we know you can’t overlook these three games with the Baltimore Orioles before you get to those,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Our perception is just go out and win and things will take care of themselves.”
His club did that Labor Day afternoon, hitting three home runs and rallying from an early three-run deficit to down the fast-fading Orioles, 8-6, in front of 31,039 at the Stadium.
The Yankees, who trailed 4-1 after the second, took a 5-4 lead on John Ryan Murphy’s third homer of the season, a two-run, opposite-field shot that capped a three-run fifth.
Justin Wilson replaced Michael Pineda to start the seventh and allowed a one-out homer to Manny Machado that tied it at 5-5. It was just the second homer allowed by Wilson, the first coming July 1 in Anaheim.
The Yankees retook the lead for good a half-inning later on rookie Greg Bird’s three-run homer off lefty reliever Brian Matusz, brought in to face the lefthanded-hitting first baseman, that made it 8-5. Alex Rodriguez also homered, hitting his 29th to start the fifth-inning rally against lefthander Wei-Yin Chen.
Pineda lasted six innings, allowing four runs, six hits and two walks.