BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Orioles had an opportunity to move into sole possession of first place in the American League East on Sunday. For the second time this weekend, they could not take advantage.
The Orioles were unable to overcome an early five-run deficit, going on to lose 13-3 to the New York Yankees in front of 40,346 at Camden Yards.
Baltimore began its four-game series against the Yankees trailing by one game and finish it in the same position after splitting the series.
"We'd have liked to take all four," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "But that's something to reflect on probably after the season. Our guys are disappointed a little bit with today."
Baltimore (78-62) also split the season series with the Yankees, 9-9, but won four of the last seven games played against New York.
"Every other team is that much more competitive and a lot better," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. "This year, to win the East, usually it's 98 wins or something like that, now it's going to be low 90s to get this division."
Baltimore starter Zach Britton went just 3 1-3 innings, giving up five runs on five hits. The left-hander walked five batters, his second highest total of the season.
"You can't walk that many people against that type of lineup," Showalter said. "His command was a challenge. He had good stuff. They did a real good job of making him bring the ball up."
New York (79-61) put pressure on Britton early, scoring its first run of the game on a Robinson Cano RBI single with two outs in the top of the first inning.
Britton struggled in the fourth, walking four, two with the bases loaded, allowing four runs to score. Britton exited with the bases loaded and one out.
"When I got ahead, I got the results I wanted," Britton said. "But in the situations where I really need to get ahead I wasn't able to do it. ... I gave them the opportunities."
Britton (5-2) had won four consecutive starts, and gave up just three runs over his last 28 2-3 innings.
Making his first career relief appearance, Jake Arrieta came on for Britton and struck out Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez to end the fourth, stranding three New York baserunners. Arrieta had not pitched in the major leagues since July 5.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Orioles tallied all three of their runs, all off Yankees starter Freddy Garcia. Wilson Betemit ripped a two-run double to the right-center field gap and Matt Wieters drove in Betemit with an RBI single to right.
Garcia gave up three runs on three hits in 3 1-3 innings. Joba Chamberlain (1-0) earned the victory in relief, pitching 1 2-3 scoreless innings.
The Yankees scored eight unanswered runs behind Curtis Granderson, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning and went 3 for 3 with a home run and five RBIs.
Despite losing, the Orioles remain a game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card. Tampa Bay comes to Baltimore for a three game series beginning on Tuesday.
"They're as good as any pitching staff in baseball," Showalter said. "Runs are going to be at a premium and our pitching staff is going to have to match some given good outings that they're going to throw at us."
Jones said that it was good for the team to not lose any ground in the series, but that it is important for the team to beat Tampa this week and not make any mistakes in the last 22 games of the season.
"We [ended] the series where we started and now we have to worry about Tampa," Jones said. "They're coming in hot. ... Every inning, every pitch is important from here on out.
NOTES: Nick Markakis underwent a CT scan on his broken left thumb on Sunday and will go to Sarasota, Fla. to undergo surgery on Tuesday. Markakis said he is hoping to return in about four weeks if the team makes the playoffs. ... Showalter said outfielder Endy Chavez is expected to join the team on Tuesday. ... Nate McLouth hit leadoff for the first time this season and went 0 for 2 with a pair of walks, a stolen base and a run scored.