Slumping Curtis Granderson came off the bench to hit his 35th homer and drive in five runs, and the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 13-3 Sunday to regain sole possession of first place in the AL East and earn an important split of the season series.
Derek Jeter also homered for the Yankees, who lead the Orioles by one game with 22 left. Each team won twice in a four-game set that drew 173,572 fans, including 40,346 in the finale.
New York finished 9-9 against Baltimore this season. Had the Orioles won Sunday, they would have received home-field advantage in a playoff game if the teams finish tied atop the division. Baltimore would have also had home-field advantage if the Yankees and Orioles finish tied for both wild-card berths.
Now, if the teams are tied at the end of the regular season, record within the division will be the tiebreaker.
Granderson didn't start because he was stuck in a 5-for-43 skid. He entered as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning and hit a solo shot to put New York up 6-3, then delivered a two-run single in the seventh to provide the Yankees a five-run cushion.
In the eighth, after Jeter hit a two-run drive off Kevin Gregg, Granderson doubled in two runs. The five RBIs matched a career high.
Pitching in relief of ineffective starter Freddy Garcia, Joba Chamberlain (1-0) entered in the fourth and worked 1 2-3 hitless innings to earn his first win since May 2, 2011. The right-hander was activated off the disabled list on Aug. 1 following elbow ligament replacement surgery in June 2011.
Wilson Betemit had two RBIs for the Orioles, who were seeking to win the season series from New York for the first time since 1997.
Nate McLouth batted leadoff for Baltimore, going 0 for 2 with two walks and a stolen base in place of Nick Markakis, who will be out for at least six weeks after breaking his left thumb Saturday night when he was hit by a pitch. Markakis was slated to receive a CAT scan on Sunday and an MRI on Monday to determine if season-ending surgery will be required.
Orioles starter Zach Britton (5-2) allowed five runs, five hits and five walks in 3 1-3 innings. The left-hander was 4-0 with a 0.94 ERA in his previous four starts.
The Yankees got a first-inning run when Jeter beat out a chopper to third and scored on a two-out RBI single by Robinson Cano.
New York benefited from four walks in a four-run fourth. After a single and two walks loaded the bases, Britton walked Steve Pearce to force in a run. Jayson Nix and Ichiro Suzuki hit RBI singles before Jeter ended Britton's outing with a bases-loaded walk. Jake Arreita then struck out Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez.
Baltimore answered with three runs in the bottom half. Garcia walked McLouth and hit J.J. Hardy with a pitch before Betemit doubled in two runs and Matt Wieters chased Garcia with an RBI single.
NOTES: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira re-injured his left calf Saturday night on the final play of the game. An MRI on Monday will go a long way toward determining how long he will be sidelined. ... The Orioles will recall OF Endy Chavez on Tuesday, manager Buck Showalter said. ... Suzuki has a 19-game hitting streak at Camden Yards. ... Granderson's homer was his 100th with New York. ... Rodriguez extended his hitting streak to 13 games, his longest run since an 18-gamer in April 2007. ... Swisher went 0 for 4 and is hitless in his last 28 at-bats, part of a 2-for-43 funk. ... Both teams have Monday off. Baltimore next faces Tampa Bay on Tuesday in a three-game series. The third-place Rays trail the Orioles by one game. The Yankees play at Boston on Tuesday night.