Bullpen had leaky boat on 4-6 trip
Too bad it stopped raining Sunday in Baltimore.
Had the game not been resumed, it would have been a 1-0 victory for the Yankees. The Orioles had runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning when a thunderstorm held up play for 1 hour, 37 minutes. Since the Yankees had scored their run in the third inning and not the top of the eighth, the game would have been considered official and not suspended.
No such luck for the Yankees as the skies cleared. Still, with previously invincible Aroldis Chapman entering the game the odds still favored the Yankees, especially after he struck out Jonathan Schoop for the second out. Francisco Pena, son of Yankees first base coach Tony Pena, kept Baltimore’s hopes alive with a sharp single to right field that loaded the bases.
Chapman got ahead in the count 0-2 to pinch hitter Matt Wieters, who turned a 99-mph fastball around on the next pitch for a single through the middle that scored the tying and go-ahead runs. An insurance run scored when center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s throw bounced over catcher Brian McCann with Chapman failing to back up the plate. It was the first blown save for Chapman this season in 10 opportunities.
That run proved inconsequential because Orioles closer Zach Britton retired the Yankees in order in the ninth for his 17th save. The 3-1 loss ended a 4-6 trip for the Yankees and a 12-game stretch against American League East opponents in which they were 4-8.
The bullpen, which had been considered a Yankees strength, had some holes on the trip. The relief squad had a 1-2 record with three saves and a 6.15 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. It was even worse over the final six games — an 8.40 ERA in 15 innings. In the three-game set at Camden Yards, the pen blew late-inning leads of 5-2 and 1-0 in losses and came within one run of blowing a 7-0 lead in the Yanks’ lone victory in the series.
Dellin Betances had a particularly rough ride. In four appearances on the trip, the righthander was 1-2 with a 9.53 ERA. He allowed six earned runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, and in his one winning decision Thursday night at Detroit in a rain-makeup game he, Andrew Miller and Chapman combined to turn a 5-1 lead into a 5-4 squeaking victory.
Sunday starter CC Sabathia pitched five scoreless innings, but six walks shoved his pitch count to 111 one batter into the sixth, once again forcing manager Joe Girardi to send for reinforcements a little more than halfway through the game. CC twice struck out major-league home run leader Mark Trumbo with the bases full.
Kirby Yates finished the sixth by retiring the side. Betances withstood a leadoff single in the seventh for a clean inning but started the eighth with a walk to Mark Trumbo, who had struck out three times against Sabathia, and giving up a single to Chris Davis before striking out Nolan Reimold before the rains came.
At least the Yankees’ offense woke up in Baltimore. The Yanks had 36 hits in the series, including 10 Sunday but they left 10 on base in going 1-for-11 (.091) with runners in scoring position. Breaking out of slumps during the series were Alex Rodriguez, who had 6-for-13 (.462) with a home run and three RBI, and Brett Gardner, who had 7-for-13 (.538) with two runs, two doubles and a stolen base.