BALTIMORE — CC Sabathia, Russell Martin and the Yankees crashed a party that was 15 years in the making.
Martin led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking home run off Jim Johnson, Sabathia turned in a sparkling pitching performance and the Yankees beat the Orioles 7-2 Sunday in the opener of their AL Division Series.
Sabathia allowed two runs and eight hits in 8 2/3 innings to help the Yankees take the edge off the Orioles' first home playoff game since 1997. The left-hander went 0-2 in three starts against Baltimore during the regular season, but in this one he returned to form and improved his lifetime record against the Orioles to 17-4.
"Fastball command was good, worked off that," Sabathia said. "Throwing the ball pretty good getting the corners. Tried to stay out there and make some pitches."
Sabathia is 6-1 with the Yankees in the postseason, 4-0 in the division series.
With the score 2-all, Martin drove a 2-and-0 pitch from Johnson into the leftfield seats. It was the first of four straight hits off Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves. Raul Ibanez and Derek Jeter followed with singles, Ichiro Suzuki drove in a run with a swinging bunt and one out later, Robinson Cano hit a two-run double.
In his seven prior appearances against New York, Johnson allowed one run in seven innings and had three saves. Nick Swisher capped the five-run ninth with a sacrifice fly off Tommy Hunter.
"It's tough. It's just tough going, period," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Jimmy has been great for us all year and will be again. Tonight just wasn't his night."
Game 2 is tonight.
The start of the game was delayed by rain for 2 hours, 26 minutes, and that did nothing to lessen the enthusiasm of the 47,841 fans who endured 14 straight losing season while waiting for the Orioles to play a postseason game at Camden Yards.
For eight innings, the sellout crowd was treated to tense duel that typified the competition between two division foes that split 18 games during the regular season and finished two games apart in the standings.
Orioles starter Jason Hammel allowed two runs, four hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings.
New York missed an excellent chance to take the lead in the seventh. After Troy Patton walked Martin and Ibanez, Darren O'Day entered and Jeter dropped down a two-strike sacrifice bunt. With the infield drawn in, Suzuki hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Robert Andino, who threw home. Matt Wieters grabbed the ball on the short hop and tagged out Martin. O'Day then struck out Alex Rodriguez.
Sabathia retired the first six batters he faced without allowing a ball out of the infield, then ran into trouble in the third. Chris Davis led off with a single, Lew Ford singled and both runners moved up on a bunt before Nate McLouth bounced a two-run single into rightfield for a 2-1 lead.
New York promptly tied it in the fourth when Mark Teixeira ripped a liner off the rightfield scoreboard to drive in a run.
Today's matchup 2012 Team 2012 Vs. Opp.
Team Pitcher Time W-L ERA Rec. W-L IP ERA
New York Pettitte (L) 8:05 5-4 2.87 8-4 - -
Baltimore Chen (L) p.m. 12-11 4.02 19-13 1-2 24.0 5.25