NEW YORK — CC Sabathia and Jason Hammel each retired the first nine batters, and the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles were scoreless after three innings Friday in the deciding Game 5 of their AL division series.
With Alex Rodriguez watching from a seat in the dugout, the Yankees did not come close to a hit against Hammel in a game that started about 15 hours after Baltimore's 2-1, 13-inning win that ended after midnight.
This game began at 5:07 p.m. and Yankee Stadium was half-empty for the first pitch, with fans no doubt delayed by the odd start time.
Eric Chavez was given the start at third base after pinch hitting for A-Rod in the ninth inning Thursday. Raul Ibanez was in the designated hitter spot and batted fifth two nights after hitting a tying homer in the ninth while batting for Rodriguez and connecting on the game-winner in the 12th in the Yankees' Game 3 victory.
The last time Rodriguez did not start in the postseason was in 1995 for the Seattle Mariners, when he was a rookie and played in just two games, according to STATS, LLC.
The teams were all even after playing 22 games this season, four in the playoffs. The winner of this deciding game will face Detroit on Saturday in the opener of the AL championship series.
The Orioles were looking for their first trip to the ALCS since 1997, and manager Buck Showalter was a win away from taking a team to the championship series for the first time. He lost in the division series in 1995 with the Yankees and in 1999 with Arizona.
The Yankees, in their eighth winner-take-all division series game, lost to the Tigers in Game 5 last year after advancing to the ALCS in 2010.Comment on this story
The scattered orange-and-black clad fans traded "Let's go O's!" chants with Yankees fans' louder "Let's go Yankees!" calls in the first inning.
Sabathia, the Game 1 winner, struck out four, including three in a row. He got Matt Wieters looking then fanned Manny Machado when the rookie couldn't check his swing, to end the second inning. He struck out Mark Reynolds to open the third.
The burly lefty struck out seven in a postseason high 8 2-3 innings in the opener.
Making his fourth appearance since July 13 because of right knee surgery, Hammel struck out two. The right-hander wearing a knee brace allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings in Game 1.