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Hammel strikes out eight over 6 2/3 innings

When the Orioles and Yankees start an abbreviated two-game series Monday night in Baltimore, it will be a meeting of familiar opponents in unfamiliar circumstances.

The game's two starting pitchers -- Jason Hammel for the O's and Ivan Nova for the Yankees -- both pitched in the teams' series two weeks ago, and meetings between Baltimore and New York are hardly a rarity.

What's unusual is for them to occur with the Orioles ahead in the standings, as they currently sit atop the American League East with a 22-13 record.

The Yankees, off to a 19-15 start, are 2 1/2 games back, in third place behind the Rays.

New York had a chance to trim that margin by a game on Sunday but dropped its series finale to Seattle, 6-2. Baltimore also lost, falling, 9-8, to Tampa Bay.

"You want to win them all, but it's baseball," Yankees left fielder Raul Ibanez said. "Tomorrow's a new day. We'll come back strong and see if we can win in Baltimore."

Monday's matchup will present an interesting challenge for both sides, as hitters and pitchers both make alterations in preparation for a foe they are just two weeks removed from facing.

"He's going to make adjustments, and I think we're expecting to do the same," Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said of facing Nova, who allowed five runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings on May 2 against Baltimore. "Obviously, you have something to go back on and look at, but at the same time, he's going to do the same thing. He's not going to make the same mistakes twice. They're in our division, so we see them several times a year. I think there's obviously an advantage getting to see a guy time and time again, but you still have to be willing to make a change."

Orioles: Hammel to make return
• Jason Hammel will start for the Orioles after skipping his Thursday start to rest a sore right knee.

Hammel has been the O's best starter this season, compiling a 4-1 record with a 2.09 ERA. In his start against the Yankees on April 30, Hammel gave up two runs on six hits in six innings.

• Catcher Matt Wieters snapped an 0-for-12 streak with his second-inning double on Sunday. He also added a two-run home run in the sixth, his eighth shot of the year, which leads all Major League catchers.

Yankees: Jeter ties Yount
• Shortstop Derek Jeter registered career hit No. 3,142 on Sunday, tying Robin Yount for 16th on the all-time hits list.

Jeter is off to a blistering start in 2012, posting a .372 batting average with five home runs over the team's first 34 games.

• Andy Pettitte made his return to the big leagues Sunday, allowing four runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, taking the loss.

Worth noting
• The Orioles have taken a series from every team in the AL East this season, posting a 12-6 record against their division rivals. The Yankees hold a 4-2 lead in the season series. Comments