NEW YORK - The Baltimore Orioles were hoping for their first three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium since 1986. It didn't happen.
After winning four of their first five games here this season, the Orioles had a nightmarish afternoon, and Zach Britton had one that was even worse.
Britton didn't make it through the third inning, and Baltimore lost to the New York Yankees 12-3 before a crowd of 44,593 on Wednesday.
Just more than a year ago, Britton (1-1) had one of the worst starts in franchise history, allowing nine runs, six of them earned, in one-third of an inning as the Yankees scored 12 runs in the first inning.
This one was nearly as bad. Britton and Kevin Gregg allowed 11 runs in the first three innings.
After his fourth start, Britton watched his ERA balloon to 8.35.
"I don't know if I'm making progress. I wouldn't say that at all. At this stage, you're not really working on things. You're out there trying to win a game, and I'm not doing that now."
Three of his four starts have been poor, and he's walked 14 in 18 1/3 innings.
The Orioles kept Britton in the minors for an extra month after he had rehabilitated his sore shoulder. They wanted him to appreciate he needed to earn his way back to the major leagues.
"I understand what I have to do to be at this level, and I'm not getting it done right now. So I've got to either do something or somebody else is going to come up and find a way to do the job," Britton said.
Manager Buck Showalter wouldn't commit to Britton starting again.
"We'll let the smoke clear after the off day," he said.
"Knowing what Zach needs to bring, he'll figure it out at some point in his career as a pitcher," Showalter said.
"We feel confident about that. It's just not happening right now. It's frustrating for him and for us because we see glimpses of it. The tough thing is there was a game there to be won. There really was."
The Orioles (55-50) had 13 hits, but left 11 on base and went a pitiful 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Baltimore had its three-game winning streak snapped.
Britton allowed two runs in each of the first two innings, and was pulled with two outs in the third, with one run in and two on base. Making his earliest appearance in a game since Apr. 17, 2007, Gregg gave up a two-run single to Derek Jeter, then quickly loaded the bases.
Once Robinson Cano hit a grand slam, it was 11-1.
"I could almost pitch with that kind of lead," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said.
"It was tough to come back. But we swung the bats fine. We got the series, happy about that. We aren't content, but we're happy about that."
Phil Hughes (11-8) pitched six innings for New York (61-43). He allowed nine hits and only one run.
Joba Chamberlain made his first appearance since he underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2011. He allowed two runs, one on J.J. Hardy's 15th home run of the season.
"It was an ugly loss for us. We'll try and forget about it, look at like we won the series. We've got a big series in Tampa," Hardy said.
NOTES: Showalter said that Jason Hammel is making good progress after right knee surgery on July 16. He's hoping for an early September return ... After an off-day today, the team's first in three weeks, the Orioles open a three-game series at Tampa Bay. Tommy Hunter (4-6, 5.72) faces Matt Moore (7-7, 4.01) on Friday, Wei-Yin Chen and Jeremy Hellickson are Saturday's probables. Miguel Gonzalez and David Price are scheduled for Sunday.