The New York Yankees survived a very scary moment, a blown save by Mariano Rivera and staggered through 10 straight scoreless innings before pulling away to another victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Robinson Cano doubled in two runs in the 15th inning, and the Yankees needed nearly 5 hours to forge a 4-1 win Wednesday night.
After allowing Cano’s pivotal hit, Mike Gonzalez struck Chris Dickerson in the head with a fastball. Gonzalez was immediately ejected, and Dickerson remained motionless on the ground for several minutes.
After being helped to his feet, Dickerson — who borrowed teammate Jorge Posada’s batting helmet after his was cracked by the pitch — walked to first base before leaving the game.
Dickerson was taken to a hospital for a CAT scan.
“He was lucid and he knew where he was. He had a lump on his head,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “You have to do everything precautionary now. We’re just making sure he’s OK. It’s standard operating procedure.”
Asked if he thought Gonzalez tried to hit Dickerson intentionally, Girardi said, “I don’t get into that. It’s just a scary part of the game when a guy gets hit there.”
Gonzalez insisted that the pitch was not thrown intentionally inside.
“No way, shape or form was I trying to hit Dickerson or anything like that,” he said. “In fact, I was trying to throw a fastball down and away. It got away from me and I’m sorry it hit him.”
The right-hander was surprised about being ejected from the game, but said the moment was almost surreal.
“It was kind of shocking. I hit him and obviously I get thrown out, and I was more worried about how he was doing down there,” Gonzalez said. “First of all, I didn’t understand why (he was ejected) and second of all, Dickerson is down there on the ground and that’s the last thing you want to see.”
Alex Rodriguez had a season-high four hits for the Yankees, whose only run before the 15th was an unearned tally in the fourth. New York improved to 5-0 against Baltimore this season.
Mark Teixeira led off the 15th with a single off Jeremy Accardo (2-1). Rodriguez followed with a single, and Cano hit a liner to right-center that Adam Jones bobbled, allowing Cano to take third.
Gonzalez then hit Dickerson. With Baltimore out of relief pitchers, Jeremy Guthrie — the scheduled starter for Thursday — came in and gave up a sacrifice fly to Brett Gardner.
New York’s Hector Noesi (1-0) worked four innings in his major league debut, allowing two hits and walking three.
It was the longest game of the season for both teams, and the longest for the Orioles at home since a 17-inning affair against Philadelphia in 2003. The game lasted 4 hours, 56 minutes.
Baltimore loaded the bases with one out in the 11th against Luis Ayala before Boone Logan struck out Luke Scott and retired Matt Wieters on a fly ball. Wieters was a major-league best 15 for 27 with runners in scoring position before the out.
Noesi worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the 12th, and the Yankees failed to score against Accardo in the 13th after getting runners at the corners with no outs.
“It was a great pitcher’s duel,” Girardi said. “Both teams had a couple of opportunities that got squandered in extra innings, but we got the huge hit from Cano.”
New York starter Bartolo Colon pitched eight innings of three-hit ball and left with a 1-0 lead, but the usually reliable Rivera gave up a run in the ninth to force extra innings. It was his third blown save in 16 tries — the second against Baltimore.
Singles by Jones and Nick Markakis put runners at the corners with one out in the ninth before Vladimir Guerrero hit a sacrifice fly.
“Anytime a closer blows a save, you usually don’t win that game,” Girardi said.
Colon struck out seven and walked one. The right-hander, who turns 38 next week, retired 13 straight at one point and ended his performance by striking out the side.
Baltimore starter Zach Britton went seven innings, allowing an unearned run, six hits and three walks. He has gone 19 1-3 consecutive innings without yielding an earned run, lowering his ERA to 2.14.
In the New York fourth, Rodriguez got a leadoff single and moved to second on a groundout. Orioles second baseman Robert Andino then failed to catch a pickoff throw from Britton, apparently the result of trying to apply the tag before securing the ball. Rodriguez took third, and Nick Swisher followed with a sacrifice fly.
NOTES: The Orioles placed INF Cesar Izturis (elbow) on the 15-day DL and recalled INF Brandon Snyder from Triple-A Norfolk. … Derek Jeter opened the game with a single, his 300th career hit against Baltimore. Jeter started as a DH for only the second time this season. … Cano has hit in 17 straight games against the Orioles.
DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.