After a thrilling win Wednesday, the New York Yankees were right back to explaining why they can't shake the Orioles after Thursday's 13-inning loss.
"If you really think about it, it's not too surprising," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter of going to a decisive Game 5 with the Orioles. "Somebody's got to win tomorrow, but yeah, it seems like we've been evenly matched pretty much the entire year."
Jeter, who managed two hits despite a bone bruise in his foot that kept him from playing shortstop, gave credit to the eight Orioles pitchers who tamed the Yankees all night long.
"You ask us, we'll say missed opportunities," he said. "You go over there, they'll say good pitching. That's how it goes. I thought it was a well-pitched game, an excellent-pitched game on both sides the entire night."
Jeter dismissed the idea that the Yankees would have an advantage in the elimination game because of their experience.
"I don't think it's any different to be honest with you, if you take the same approach every day," he said.
Alex Rodriguez, who struck out two more times and was again removed for a pinch hitter, agreed with Jeter's assessment.
"I don't know that experience plays that much into it," Rodriguez said. "That's a very good team over there and we respect them a lot. We know what we have to do. We just have to go out and execute our plan."
Rodriguez said he expected to be in the lineup Friday against Jason Hammel, but he admitted he's had great trouble picking up the pitches of Orioles reliever Darren O'Day, who struck him out to end the eighth inning.
When Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked if he might consider removing the struggling Rodriguez from the lineup, he didn't give a definitive answer.
"Well, I always tell you I look at -- go home and study the pitcher, and I know our guys, and I'll make decisions tomorrow."
With a .125 average in the series, Rodriguez is hardly the only Yankees mainstay who's struggling. Robinson Cano has hit .111 in the series and Curtis Granderson .063.
"It's been very good pitching," Girardi said. "They controlled the bats for the most part, and it's come down to one hit."