That dynamic has shifted considerably as the teams prepare to renew their acquaintance with a three-game set that will get under way on Monday night at Yankee Stadium. Although New York has lost seven of its last 10, it still stands 7 1/2 games ahead of Baltimore.
The Orioles, who have lost five of seven, are embarking on a crucial six-game trip to New York and Tampa Bay. They are tied with the Rays for second in the AL East and fourth in the Wild Card race, two games behind the Angels for the last berth.
Miguel Gonzalez will take the mound for the Orioles, making his first career appearance against the Yankees. The 28-year-old rookie right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.28 ERA in four starts and three relief outings.
Gonzalez posted a 2.79 ERA over his first three starts, but hit a bump in the road on Wednesday against the Rays. A leadoff home run kicked off a five-run first inning, and Gonzalez exited after 2 2/3 innings, having surrendered seven runs.
"I couldn't get my command," Gonzalez said. "Obviously, whatever happened didn't work out for me. I just want to forget about tonight's game."
The Yankees will counter with Freddy Garcia, who has been solid in five starts since injuries pushed him back into the starting rotation. The veteran righty owns a 3.90 ERA, 27 strikeouts and nine walks in 30 innings over that span.
Garcia racked up a season-high eight strikeouts in seven innings against the Mariners on Tuesday, but also took his second straight loss after allowing three runs on five hits.
"I feel really good today. I got everything going right now," Garcia said after that start, in which he didn't issue a walk. "I started to always make my pitch, and they gave me a favor -- they start swinging the bats real aggressive. For me, when that happens, it's good, because I can locate all my pitches and get the job done more easy."
Orioles: Wieters shows no ill effects in return
Catcher Matt Wieters sat out Friday and Saturday's games with right biceps soreness, but was back in the lineup on Sunday, hitting cleanup.
Wieters quickly made his presence felt, mashing a three-run homer in the third inning. He had been hitting .179 with no homers and two RBIs in his previous 15 games.
Baltimore selected the contract of outfielder Lew Ford from Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday and put him in the lineup against the A's, batting fifth and playing left field. The 35-year-old former Twin went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first big league game since 2007.
Yankees: Pettitte's ankle not healing quickly
Left-hander Andy Pettitte suffered a slight setback in his recovery from a fractured left ankle, the veteran first told the New York Post on Sunday.
Pettitte, 40, told the newspaper that he "did a little too much in Seattle" and that the ankle "hasn't healed up as much as [the doctors] thought it would."
He had been building arm strength by throwing on flat ground in the outfield before games, and was even spotted on one occasion running the stairs in the lower seating bowl at Safeco Field during the Yankees' last road trip.
"He pushed himself too far, so we will back off," said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
The Yankees are 5-3 against the Orioles this season, but 1-2 at home.
Current Orioles own a .505 slugging percentage in 135 plate appearances against Garcia, who gave up three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings against Baltimore in his first game of the season.