BALTIMORE - One down.
Sixteen games to go.
On a day the Yankees found out they'd be without Derek Jeter for the rest of the season, they did what they've done much of this season when hit with injury news -- they shrugged it off.
And took a step closer to a playoff berth few thought was a possibility a month ago.
Hitting three home runs, including a tiebreaking solo shot by Robinson Cano to lead off the ninth inning, the Yankees edged the Orioles, 5-4, Wednesday night.
"It's just, figure out a way," said Andy Pettitte, who grinded his way through 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs and nine hits. "We've been doing it all year and we're going to continue to do it. It's not over until we're eliminated as far as I'm concerned, when the schedule says we don't have enough games to catch anybody."
There are plenty left, 16 of them, starting Wednesday night when Phil Hughes, after a one-start banishment to the bullpen, gets a chance at redemption.
"I'm excited for the opportunity," said Hughes (4-13, 5.11), who will start against lefty Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 3.82). "We'll see how it shakes out."
The Yankees (78-68) closed within one game of the Rays, who again lost to the Red Sox and have lost 13 of 17 overall, for the second American League wild-card spot. The Yankees pulled a half-game ahead of the Orioles and Indians, both 77-68. The Royals, at 77-69, are also in the race.
"We didn't have a whole lot of hits tonight but we made the most of them," manager Joe Girardi said of his team that had six hits, three of them homers.
Cano went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. His 27th homer of the season, a leadoff shot against Tommy Hunter in the ninth, gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead.
The Yankees got a needed insurance run when Lyle Overbay's two-out infield single brought in Curtis Granderson, who tripled, to make it 5-3.
Mariano Rivera, called on three times in the last week to record one-inning-plus saves, allowed a two-out double and RBI single but struck out Manny Machado to earn his 43rd save of the season.
"I've said it all along, this group fights and they're continuing to fight," Girardi said. "We get down tonight and we come back again."
The Yanks also got solo home runs from Granderson and Alex Rodriguez. Granderson's fifth of the season cut the deficit to 3-2, and A-Rod's opposite-field shot off Orioles starter Scott Feldman (three runs and three hits in 7 2/3 innings) tied it at 3 in the sixth. It was A-Rod's sixth homer of the season.
Notes & quotes: Girardi said Austin Romine suffered a "slight" concussion when he took a foul ball of his mask during Tuesday night's game. The backup catcher was unavailable Wednesday night and was considered day-to-day . . . Girardi said Ivan Nova, removed from Tuesday's game after five innings because of tightness in his right triceps, will make his next scheduled start . . . MLB reviewed Monday's incident between Girardi and Orioles manager Buck Showalter and chose not to discipline anyone.
With David Lennon