Offense runs dry against Orioles

Sunday was one of those rare Old-Timers’ Days when the game between the team’s former stars is more pleasant than the real game. The Yankees put a damper on a fun-filled weekend with full houses at Yankee Stadium Saturday and Sunday with losses to the Orioles both days.

They followed an uplifting comeback victory Friday night on Carlos Beltran’s three-run home run. That was the last real burst of offense for the Yankees, who scored one run over the final 18 innings of the series.

“Going 4-2 against your division rivals in one week is pretty good,” manager Joe Girardi said, “but it’s also disappointing because we were 4-0 at one time.”

Friday night’s victory followed a three-game sweep of the first-place Blue Jays that tightened up the American League East standings. They stiffened even more Sunday. The Yankees and the Orioles are tied for second place, 1 1/2 games behind the Jays. All three clubs are even in the loss column.

Baltimore’s 8-0 victory was all the more shocking because Masahiro Tanaka started the game for the Yankees. He was credited with another quality start for having allowed three earned runs in seven innings with six hits, a walk and six strikeouts, but since the Yankees could not score the effort went for naught as his record went to 11-2 and ended a personal five-game winning streak.

Perhaps the game might have gone differently had Brett Gardner not been thrown out at third base trying for a triple leading off the first inning. He slid past the bag and was tagged out by Manny Machado, who kept his glove on Gardy’s leg while his hand came off the base following a head-first slide.

Then again, maybe not. The Yankees got only three more hits in the game while the Orioles kept pounding away. They hit four home runs Saturday and added two more Sunday. Jonathan Schoop took Tanaka deep in the second. Catcher Jacob Joseph added his first career homer in the ninth off David Huff.

Tanaka gave up two more runs in the seventh without the ball leaving the yard. Adam Warren was tagged for four runs in the eighth, an unsightly inning for the Yankees that included two errors.

One was a wild throw by third baseman Kelly Johnson that was excusable under the circumstance. With runners on first and second and none out, Nelson Cruz hit a chopper to Johnson, who stepped on third and then threw the ball into the first base stands while Steve Pearce running from second to third slid in front of him.

Pearce appeared to have run out of the baseline and should have been called for interference. That was Girardi’s argument, too. He was told, however, that Pearce was still in the proximity of third base. Well, judging from my view Pearce must have the wing span of a 747 jetliner to have had his right hand anywhere near third base on that play.

Didn’t matter; the play was not renewable and stayed. “You don’t need to review it,” Girardi said. “You just need to call it. It was a dangerous slide. If it happens at second base or first base it gets called.”

The game soon went out of hand when J.J. Hardy cleared the bases with a double. The bottom of the eighth didn’t go well for the Yankees, either. Mark Teixeira, who accounted for the Yanks’ only run of the past two games with his 12th homer Saturday, was hit in the left foot with a pitch and came out of the game. X-rays were negative, however, and Tex was relieved after the game.

Nevertheless, the good feeling the Yankees derived from their climbing up Toronto’s back was negated somewhat by Baltimore doing the same to them. This is a division race up for grabs.

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