Jeter bruises finger as Yanks beat O's

New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner, second New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner, second from front right, high-fives Eduardo Nunez (26) followed by Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher after they defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 4-2. (July 31, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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On a day when most of the attention was focused on whom the Yankees might acquire before the trade deadline, they lost their shortstop, though it doesn't appear as if it will be for long.

Derek Jeter left Sunday's 4-2 victory over the Orioles at the Stadium shortly after being hit in the right hand by Jake Arrieta's 91-mph fastball in the third inning. X-rays were negative but Jeter, who spent June 14-July 3 on the disabled list with a right calf strain -- his first DL stint since 2003 -- was diagnosed with a bruised right middle finger.

Afterward, no one seemed terribly concerned, though Joe Girardi said Jeter could miss a game or two.

"I hope so," Jeter said of playing Monday night in Chicago. "I've been hit in my hand before. It's not broken. As long as I can throw and swing."

Jeter, listed as day-to-day, had a grounder graze the tip of the same finger in Saturday night's 17-3 win but stayed in the game.

"I'll have to check with him every day if he can throw. Throwing was the issue," Girardi said. "We just felt he couldn't throw and he was honest about it that it was bothering him and I took him out."

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Jeter's exit Sunday created the oddest infield alignment the Yankees have used all season -- with catcher Francisco Cervelli briefly playing second base -- and eventually caused them to lose their DH.

Lost a bit in the afternoon's craziness -- the Yankees ended up not making any deals before the 4 p.m. non-waivers deadline -- was another solid start by Freddy Garcia, who allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. Garcia (10-7, 3.22), who has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 15 of his 19 starts, walked two and struck out six. He outdueled Arrieta, who allowed four runs (two earned) and five hits in five innings.

"He knows how to pitch. He's not afraid," general manager Brian Cashman said of Garcia during a postgame news conference discussing his decision to not make any moves. "Those are two important aspects when you place yourself in this market."

The Yankees (64-42), who took the last three games of the four-game series against the Orioles (42-63), are a season-high 22 games over .500.

One big inning, a four-run fourth that featured a critical error by Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy on a potential double-play ball and Brett Gardner's three-run triple, proved to be the difference.

With the Orioles leading 1-0, none out and the bases loaded, Gardner pulled a grounder just inside first base into the rightfield corner, and when Eduardo Nuñez easily scored all the way from first, the Yankees led 3-1. Gardner, going on contact, then scored on Curtis Granderson's one-out chopper to first.

Before Mariano Rivera earned his 27th save of the season with a perfect ninth, Hector Noesi pitched two-thirds of an inning and David Robertson struck out three in 11/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 1.49. The three combined to allow one baserunner, a single off Noesi.

"Freddy pitched great,'' Gardner said, "and our bullpen came in and did what we've become accustomed to."

Cervelli pinch hit for Jeter in the fourth just after Gardner's triple. With Robinson Cano serving as the DH, Girardi put Cervelli, who has played third base a few times in blowouts, at second base -- the first time the catcher has played there in his career. Nuñez shifted from second to shortstop.

After Cervelli batted in the sixth, Girardi put Cano at second for the seventh and the Yankees went the rest of the way without a DH.

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It all worked out, as much of this homestand did. The Yankees went 7-3 against three scuffling teams, the A's, Mariners and Orioles, and are two games behind the Red Sox as they begin a seven-game trip to Chicago and Boston.

"This was an important homestand," Girardi said. "We ended up winning three series . . . You're playing three games in basically 27 hours, and to win those three games says a lot about your guys."

With Kimberley A. Martin

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