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Yankees back into home wild-card game despite sweep by Orioles

New York Yankees Jacoby Ellsbury, right, gives his

New York Yankees Jacoby Ellsbury, right, gives his helmet to first base coach Tony Pena after grounding out with two on in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Baltimore, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Credit: AP / GAIL BURTON

BALTIMORE - This was the back door of back doors.

But the Yankees, after their no-show of a weekend in Baltimore, will happily take it and try to regroup in time for Tuesday night's American League wild-card playoff game at the Stadium, one in which ace Masahiro Tanaka will face Astros ace Dallas Keuchel.

And it will be at the Stadium only because the Diamondbacks did the Yankees a huge favor by beating the Astros, 5-3, on Paul Goldschmidt's tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh inning on Sunday in Phoenix.

"Not the way we drew it up, but the result's the same anyway," Chase Headley said.

Added Alex Rodriguez: "Home field is big for us. Obviously, we like playing at home, we love playing in front of our fans and hopefully the building is rocking on Tuesday.''

The Yankees (87-75) enter the postseason looking like an utter mess. They dropped six of their final seven games, including a 9-4 loss to the Orioles Sunday afternoon in front of 33,224 at Camden Yards that completed Baltimore's three-game sweep.

"Lose seven out of 10 or win seven out of 10, on Tuesday it's still 0-0," Rodriguez said. "We're a veteran team. We know where we have to be. You win, you move on."

The winner of the wild-card game will face the top-seeded Royals in a Division Series that begins Thursday night in Kansas City.

"The big thing is," Joe Girardi said, "we're playing and we have a shot just like the other nine teams do."

This was a game in which many of the issues plaguing the Yankees during the last month swirled together on a cloudy, 56-degree afternoon: erratic starting pitching, few trustworthy bullpen options and, of course, weak hitting, even against a starter who came in with a 5.05 ERA.

Michael Pineda (12-10, 4.37) failed to get out of the fourth inning. In that inning, Girardi turned to lefthander Chris Capuano, who allowed an inherited runner to score along with one of his own as the Orioles took a 5-1 lead.

Pineda, who was charged with four runs, allowed six hits in 32/3 innings and was pulled after 83 pitches. Girardi said he'll need the righthander for the next round, should the Yankees get there.

The Orioles' lead grew to 7-1 before the Yankees tallied three runs in the sixth and seventh to make it 7-4. Chris Davis' second two-run home run of the day, which gave him 47 for the season, made it 9-4 in the eighth.

"This isn't the first time where we went through a bad stretch as a team," Carlos Beltran said. "During the regular season, you're going to go through stretches like that. Unfortunately for us, it happened to us at the end. But the regular season's over. It's about just get ready for what's coming."

Orioles righthander Chris Tillman (11-11, 4.99) allowed two runs, seven hits and four walks in 51/3 innings. The Yankees managed plenty of baserunners but were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11.

Of his first three hitters combining to go 0-for-13, Girardi said, "That's not what you want." Otherwise, there wasn't much looking back, only ahead.

"I've been on teams that have played extremely well going in [the postseason] and you don't get it done and vice versa, so Tuesday's a new day," Girardi said. "We're where we want to be. We're in the playoffs. I think the guys feel good about that and they'll be ready to go Tuesday."

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