New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez follows through on a grand slam home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, April 23, 2011, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Pitching against a potent New York Yankees lineup that provides little margin for error, Brad Bergesen made far too many mistakes to keep the Orioles within striking distance.
Then, after Bergesen left, the Yankees turned the game into a rout against Baltimore's struggling bullpen.
Alex Rodriguez hit a milestone grand slam and drove in six runs, CC Sabathia earned his first win of the season, and New York cruised to a 15-3 victory Saturday night.
Bergesen (0-3) gave up three first-inning runs, yielded a three-run homer to Russell Martin in the sixth inning and left with Baltimore trailing 6-0.
"I was able to settle down there for a while down to that last inning," Bergesen said. "Then what it really amounts to is just a few pitches for me that really hurt."
Bergesen is 0-3 with a 7.29 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees.
"It's a great hitting lineup," he said. "This lineup, you're not going to get away with a whole lot and it was evident tonight."
Long after Bergesen left, Josh Rupe gave up a slam to Rodriguez during a seven-run eighth inning. It's was the 22nd of A-Rod's career, moving him past Manny Ramirez into sole possession of second place behind Lou Gehrig (23).
"It was a fastball above the strike zone, but I mean, he's a great hitter," Rupe said. "He's got a lot of those homers."
The six RBIs lifted Rodriguez past Carl Yastrzemski into 10th place on the career RBI list (1,847), according to Elias Sports Bureau.
"Without question, I'm going to appreciate (the accomplishments) a lot more once I'm done playing," he said. "But overall, I played with a lot of great players. Numbers like RBIs and wins and championships, you need 25 guys, 24 other guys helping you."
A-Rod had plenty of help in this blowout. Martin homered twice, and Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner also connected for the Yankees, who lead the majors with 35 home runs.
Sabathia (1-1) allowed three runs and six hits in eight innings, striking out seven and walking one. The performance came one night after his scheduled start was postponed by a rainout.
Sabathia came in with a 2.52 ERA but was winless after four starts for only the third time in his career.
The left-hander's elusive first victory of the year came against a team he has dominated for years. In 21 starts against Baltimore, he's 15-2 with a 2.89 ERA.
"I was in the dugout and you could tell he had everything," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Adam Jones homered for the Orioles, who have lost 27 of their last 34 games against New York.
Four of the first five New York batters reached base in the first inning. After Derek Jeter singled and took third on Mark Teixiera double, Rodriguez hit a two-run double and Robinson Cano capped the uprising with an RBI single.
After one turn through the lineup, the Yankees produced three runs on five hits. Baltimore, in contrast, went 0 for 9 with three strikeouts.
Sabathia retired the first 11 batters before Derrek Lee singled with two outs in the fourth.
Jones hit a three-run drive in the seventh to make it 6-3, but New York pulled away in the eighth against three Baltimore relievers. Posada hit a two-run shot off Jason Berken and Martin immediately followed with his sixth home run of the season. Then, after the Yankees loaded the bases against Clay Rapada, Rodriguez hit a 2-0 pitch into the left field seats.
Before that outburst, New York was the only team in the majors that had not scored at least four runs in an inning.
After Rupe hit Martin in the back with a pitch in the ninth, Gardner hit his first homer of the season.
Rupe said the pitch that hit Martin was completely accidental.
"I had no intent to hit him. I looked at the video and it didn't look good," the pitcher said. "But there's no way that I would intentionally go at somebody's head or go way up there. I know how to hit a guy when the situation calls for it and that wasn't it. No, I wouldn't do it."
NOTES: Cano extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He's 19 for 49 (.388) during that span. ... Brian Roberts has hit in 10 straight for Baltimore. ... Jeter (2 for 17), Gardner (0 for 16) and Posada (2 for 20) ended prolonged slumps.