Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano celebrate their 6-3 win over...

Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano celebrate their 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. (April 24, 2011) Credit: AP

BALTIMORE -- There were few better word choices to describe the Yankees' 6-3, 11-inning victory over the Orioles on Sunday than "odd.''

That would sum up the Orioles' rally in the ninth, featuring Mariano Rivera's second straight blown save; what led up to that in the mysterious unavailability of setup man Rafael Soriano, and how the Yankees pushed across three runs in the 11th to retake the lead for good.

But the Yankees (12-6) will more than take the 3-1 trip that began Tuesday in Toronto with Rivera's first blown save.

"This is a road trip, when you look at it, you're saying to yourself, you could have been 4-0," Joe Girardi said. "You definitely don't want to go back 2-2."

Girardi disclosed after the game that Soriano reported to the park Saturday with lower-back tightness and was not available for that game. He played catch Sunday but was a no-go. Soriano said he expects to be ready by Monday night.

Soriano's situation led Girardi to give Rivera, who had not pitched since Tuesday, his first 2011 chance at a four-out save.

A standout defensive play by Brett Gardner in the eighth on Rivera's first pitch prevented the tying and go-ahead runs from scoring, but the Orioles tied it in the ninth on Brian Roberts' two-out RBI double down the rightfield line. But Robinson Cano's throw home nipped Robert Andino at the plate, saving Rivera from the loss and sending the game to extra innings.

Derek Jeter (four hits) was thrown out at home by Adam Jones, with Matt Wieters blocking the plate, on what appeared to be a potential sacrifice fly by Alex Rodriguez in the 10th.

With Cano at 3-and-2 against Jeremy Accardo in the 11th, thunder boomed, lightning flashed and the skies opened, the start of a 40-minute delay. When play resumed, after his fifth straight foul ball, Cano doubled to right off Jason Berken to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.

When Nick Swisher missed a bunt, Wieters fired the ball to the first-base side of second as Cano took off for third. Andino had to whirl to make the throw, which was off-line, and Cano made it. "I didn't plan anything," he said. "It was just a reaction. Everything worked my way."

Girardi called it a "heads-up play," adding: "That's a tough read where a guy looks like he's going to bunt it and you bunt through it. Robby was smart.''

After Swisher struck out and pinch hitter Eric Chavez was intentionally walked, Russell Martin smashed a grounder into the hole at short. Andino made a diving stop on the infield hit but fired the ball to the first-base side of second and into rightfield, allowing Cano to score.

With men on second and third, Gardner struck out, but Jeter reached on an infield hit to drive in Chavez and third baseman Mark Reynolds threw it away. Curtis Granderson, who hit a two-run homer in the first, then singled off second baseman Roberts' glove for a 6-3 lead.

Freddy Garcia allowed two hits in six scoreless innings for the second time in as many starts. He walked two and struck out seven, throwing 90 pitches. But Joba Chamberlain allowed a two-run homer by Reynolds in the seventh and Garcia's victory vanished in the ninth.

What was working? "Everything," Garcia said. "I had a good split, I was throwing strikes and throwing my game. Changing a lot of speeds. I got pitches when I needed them."Winning pitcher Boone Logan, who retired three straight in the bottom of the 10th before the rain delay, got Luke Scott to start the 11th. Buddy Carlyle, called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday, retired the final two batters to end it.

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