The New York Yankees found themselves in a very familiar position in the ninth inning last night; down by one run after mounting a comeback. Unfortunately the result was all too common as well. The Yankees lost their third straight game and their sixth consecutive one-run game as the Baltimore Orioles held on for a 5-4 victory.
After an impressive beginning to the second half; a series win over the Los Angeles Angels and a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees have lost 8-of-11. They have been in many of the games right until the end but can’t seem to finish off the comeback. The bigger issue may be the fact that they are falling behind early.
Yankees starter Freddy Garcia was provided with a one-run lead on a RBI-single by Eric Chavez in the second inning. But, Garcia allowed a Wilson Betemit solo homer in the top half of the third to tie it up. In the fifth, the Orioles scored two more runs on a single by Betemit, a double from Mark Reynolds and two run-scoring sac flies off the bats of Omar Quintanilla and Nick Markakis. The Yankees got one back in the bottom of the frame on Raul Ibanez‘s solo home run.
The Orioles added two runs in the seventh as Boone Logan came on to replace Garcia. Logan started the inning getting back-to-back strikeouts, but then walked Quintanilla, who raced around the bases on a Markakis double. David Phelps took over for Logan and allowed a single past a diving Mark Teixeira at first, bringing in Markakis. Teixeira injured his left wrist on the play and was eventually removed when he couldn’t swing the bat. He had felt discomfort in the wrist prior to the game but was trying to play through it. X-rays were taken and came back negative so Teixeira will undergo a MRI today.
Down 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh the Yankees used their best friend, the long ball, to inch back into the game. With two outs, Chavez and Ichiro Suzuki went back-to-back with solo shots off Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez. The Yankees were able to squirm out of trouble in the top of the ninth as the Orioles had a runner on third with two outs, but Chad Qualls induced a Chris Davis groundout to end the threat.
The Orioles went to closer Jim Johnson to preserve the lead in the bottom of the ninth. Nick Swisher, playing in his second game at DH since returning from injury, roped a ground-rule double to start the inning. Ibanez struck out swinging and Chavez walked. Suzuki grounded into a force play for the second out, but advanced Swisher to third base. Suzuki stole second with Russell Martin, the lone run-producer in Sunday night’s game, at the plate. Martin couldn’t come through this time, striking out to end the game.
With the loss the Yankees fall to 60-42 and lose another game in the AL East standings to the Orioles (54-49). The Orioles are 6.5 back of the Bombers (seven in the loss column) and sit two games back of the Angels for the last of two wild card spots in the American League.
Ivan Nova takes the mound tonight looking to stop the bleeding. Nova (10-4, 4.08 ERA) is 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in three starts against the O’s this season. He’ll face Chris Tillman (3-1, 1.66 ERA) who has pitched well since being called up on July 4.
Topics: Baltimore Orioles, Boone Logan, Chad Qualls, Chris Davis, David Phelps, Eric Chavez, Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova, Jim Johnson, Mark Reynolds, Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees, Nick Markakis, Nick Swisher, Omar Quintanilla, Raul Ibanez, Russell Martin, Wilson Betemit, Yankees