BALTIMORE -- Russell Martin ostensibly was talking about the Yankees' ability to put Thursday night's tough loss behind them. He easily could have been talking about much of his 2012.
"I feel like you've just got to embrace the adversity,'' he said after hitting a three-run homer to open the scoring in the Yankees' 8-5 victory over the Orioles Friday night at Camden Yards. "Otherwise you're going to be miserable in this game.''
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Martin knows misery. He hit .179 with a .300 on-base percentage in the first half this season.
But he's hit the ball much better in the second half, particularly in the last month, and it continued as the Yankees pulled a game ahead of the Orioles.
"I'm starting to get results, and that's the key,'' said Martin, who has 11 hits in his last 37 at-bats and is 6-for-14 with two homers and seven RBIs on this road trip.
"He's been a good hitter,'' Joe Girardi said. "He got started a little late this year.''
Martin, whose two hits Wednesday inched his batting average over .200, gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead in the fourth, and Steve Pearce added a two-run homer later in the inning. Alex Rodriguez's two-run blast in the fifth -- his 300th homer as a Yankee and 645th of his career -- made it 7-0. All three were hit off Wei-Yin Chen (12-9), who allowed seven runs in 42/3 innings.
A night after slamming six home runs that produced nine runs in a 10-6 victory over the Yankees, the Orioles hit three more to account for all five of their runs. Adam Jones hit a three-run shot off Phil Hughes (14-12) in the sixth, Robert Andino added a solo shot off Cody Eppley in the seventh and Manny Machado homered off Rafael Soriano in the ninth.
"It's huge,'' said A-Rod, who moved within 15 homers of Willie Mays for fourth place on the career list. "Every game from now on is huge. It's just a lot of fun. For us to be tested at this time of year is something I think will benefit us later.''
The combination of Hughes -- who entered the game tied for the major-league lead in home runs allowed -- pitching in a small ballpark against a lineup that hit six homers the night before didn't seem the best of matchups for the Yankees. But he pitched out of a second-and-third, one-out jam in the first and held the Orioles scoreless before allowing Jones' 29th homer, which made it 7-3.
Hughes (14-12) has allowed 33 homers in 1672/3 innings, but he was effective Friday night, allowing three runs (two earned), six hits and no walks in six innings.
"The slider was a good pitch for me. It got me out of some jams,'' he said. "Really, I just tried to get us through some clean innings early to try and give us a chance to get the lead. Obviously, I would have loved to pitch seven shutout or whatever, but just to get those first five innings and give us a chance to score some runs . . . Everything was working pretty well.''
Three relievers got the ball to Soriano, who -- because of Jeter's RBI single in the ninth -- came on in a non-save situation with the Yankees ahead 8-4.
The bullpen, especially David Robertson, had its own redemption Friday. "That's what we do as relievers. You're going to have bad nights,'' said Robertson, who allowed two homers Thursday after the Yankees had scored five runs in the top of the eighth to tie it. "Yesterday was a really tough one for me. I let the whole team down. Tonight I got an opportunity to face the same hitters and was able to get both of them out.''
Robertson struck out Jones, who hit a tiebreaking homer off him Thursday, on a curveball and got Matt Wieters, who singled the night before, to fly out.
"Crushing loss if you're weak mentally. I feel like we're not weak mentally,'' Martin said. "I feel like we have a tough team. We have guys who have battled and been in tough situations. It's not the first time we're going to lose a tough game and not the last time we're going to bounce back, either.''
With David Lennon