It may have started in gut-punching fashion, but the Orioles left the Bronx on Sunday night feeling like they had just accomplished something significant.

Not only did they dominate in Sunday’s rubber match with an 8-0 blowout of the New York Yankees, but they beat pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka and captured the series even after losing Friday night on a walkoff homer in the ninth inning.

“It’s huge, especially with being a division game on the road,” Orioles designated hitter Steve Pearce said. “And especially with the resilience we showed with the first night losing in the late innings. And then we came back and win the next two. We battled together as a team.”

The most important development Sunday is that, with the win, the Orioles (39-35) have moved into a tie with the Yankees for second place in the American League East, 11/2 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays.

Sunday’s subplots, though, were perhaps more interesting.
For one, the Orioles became the first AL team to hand Tanaka (11-2) a loss this year — the Chicago Cubs did it May 20, snapping Tanaka’s personal 34-game winning streak between Japan and the majors.

The Orioles also became the first team to beat the Yankees twice this season in a game that Tanaka has pitched. New York has won 12 of Tanaka’s 15 starts.

“It’s good timing,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Our guys did a good job of grinding, and he wasn’t carrying the same things that he’s usually armed with. We were fortunate not to catch a real good pitcher at the top of his game.”