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BALTIMORE, Maryland: Taiwanese pitcher Chen Wei-Yin baffled New York’s powerful batters yesterday, sparking the Baltimore Orioles over the Yankees 3-2 to level their Major League Baseball play-off series.
Deadlocked 1-1 in the best-of-five American League divisional series, the Orioles and Yankees move to New York for games today and tomorrow and a fifth if necessary on Thursday.
Either the Yankees or Orioles will advance to face Detroit or Oakland in the best-of-seven American League championship series to decide a berth in the World Series final.
Chen, who joined the Orioles this year after seven seasons in Japan with the Chunichi Dragons, won his North American play-off debut by outdueling New York’s Andy Pettitte, the winningest pitcher in Major League Baseball playoff history.
The 27-year-old left-hander surrendered two runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out three Yankee batters in 6 1/3 innings.
The Asian ace tossed 77 of his 112 pitches for strikes and staked Baltimore a 3-2 lead after seven innings, a crucial accomplishment since the Orioles went 74-0 in the regular season when leading after seven innings.
The Orioles, who had not won a playoff game since 1997, went 29-9 in one-run decisions this season and showed poise under pressure in beating the Yankees, who edged them in the season’s last two days for the AL East division crown.