NEW YORK — CC Sabathia pitched shutout ball and the New York Yankees once again came out on the right side of a disputed home run call in right field against the Orioles in October, taking a 2-0 lead after six innings Friday in the deciding Game 5 of the AL division series.
Raul Ibanez had an RBI single in the fifth inning to break a scoreless tie and Ichiro Suzuki doubled in a run in the sixth.
In a twist reminiscent of the Baltimore-Yankees 1996 AL championship series, when fan Jeffry Maier reached over the right field wall and pulled Derek Jeter's flyball over the fence for a homer in Game 1, Nate McLouth hit disputed fly to right in the sixth.
Unlike that game 16 years ago, McLouth's soaring two-out drive that just slipped past the foul pole in sixth was subject to video review. Right field umpire Fieldin Culbreth initially called McLouth's drive foul with a robust thrust of the arm. Umpires then went inside to check the replay and upheld the call.
A reporter for The Associated Press was shown the ball and he did not see any yellow paint from the foul pole on it.
"It was foul all the way, never hit the pole," said Steven Ellis of Broadchannel, N.Y. He said he caught the ball with his hat.
McLouth then struck out.
With Alex Rodriguez jumping up and down in the dugout, Mark Teixeira scored on Ibanez's latest big hit after the first baseman swiped second for just his third steal of the year.
Suzuki's double just above the 385-foot sign in right-center scored Jeter, who walked, and gave New York its first lead of more than a run since they broke open a tied Game 1 with five runs in the ninth.
Sabathia and Jason Hammel got off to strong starts in a game that began about 15 hours after Baltimore's 2-1, 13-inning win that ended after midnight. Neither team had a baserunner until McLouth led off the fourth with a single.
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. But it was almost full when Ibanez got New York on the board in their first chance with a runner in scoring position after going 0 for 9 a night earlier.
Eric Chavez was given the start at third base after pinch hitting for A-Rod in the ninth inning Thursday. 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.
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 in the first three innings. He got Matt Wieters looking then fanned Manny Machado when the rookie couldn't check his swing, to end the second. He struck out Mark Reynolds to open the third.Comment on this story
The burly lefty struck out seven in a postseason high 8 2-3 innings in the opener.
After McLouth singled to begin the fourth, Sabathia got three flyouts, the final one coming after McLouth stole second. In the fifth, Sabathia, his loose-fitting pants flapping in the breeze, walked the leadoff batter but got a double play to end the inning.
Making his fourth appearance since July 13 because of right knee surgery, Hammel allowed two hits. The right-hander wearing a knee brace allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings in Game 1.
He lasted 5 2-3 innings in this one, too, and gave up two runs.