An Orioles bullpen that must now overcome the loss of another key reliever was exposed Friday night, unable to keep the game close in the late innings in an eventual 8-2 loss to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
The Orioles bullpen allowed five runs, including three unearned runs in the seventh off newcomer Edwin Jackson, who allowed the second of Aaron Hicks’ two homers on the night.
The team’s offense didn’t help, its only runs coming on Jonathan Schoop’s two-run homer in the second inning. The Orioles only had one hit after the second inning.
“We’re just not making many adjustments to pitching patterns that we know are there," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "That’s what’s been a challenge for a lot of clubs, but I’m more interested in ours. It’s just, the game’s evolved. It’s a less than 50 percent fastball game and there’s no hitting fastball counts, especially when our guys show you they can do that. So, we’re going to have to make that adjustment or we’re going to continue to see that stuff."
The Orioles have scored three runs or fewer in 11 of their past 16 games. Starting May 10, the Orioles (31-28) have lost 18 of 27 games.
A Yankees team that ranks second in the American League in batting average was opportunistic against the Orioles.
"They’re a good offensive club," Showalter said. "What have they got, three or four guys hitting .300? They’re doing a lot of good things offensively, so they’re going to pounce on mistakes. But some guys get an opportunity coming up, they need to take advantage of it, because we have a need.”
With Darren O’Day landing on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain before Friday’s game, the Orioles were searching for someone to help in the late innings in close games. And on Friday, Showalter turned to Jackson in the seventh with the team trailing, 3-2.
Jackson, who was making his second appearance since his contract was selected from Triple-A Norfolk, opened the seventh with a throwing error that put Chase Headley on base. The Yankees (35-23) would move him to third by sacrificing two outs, but Hicks then took a 3-1 hanging slider from Jackson and sent it into the second deck in right field.
Stefan Crichton recorded the final out of the seventh, but allowed the first five batters he faced in the eighth to reach base. Two runs scored on Austin Romine’s single, putting the Yankees up, 8-2.
Schoop strikes early: The Orioles took an early lead in Friday night’s series opener at Yankee Stadium on Schoop’s tape-measure two-run homer, but mustered little offense after that.
Schoop hit his 11th homer of the season in the second inning off Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery (4-4), taking advantage of a leadoff walk to Chris Davis.
He turned on an 0-1 changeup, clearing the Orioles bullpen beyond the left-field fence and sending it deep into the stands. It was his third homer in his past four games, after his two-homer game Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But after that, the Orioles mustered little as Montgomery allowed just one hit after the second inning and finished with a career-high eight strikeouts. He retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced.
The Orioles couldn’t capitalize on a scoring opportunity in the fifth. Rubén Tejada opened the inning with a leadoff double and moved to third on Joey Rickard’s sacrifice bunt — the Orioles’ third sacrifice in 59 games. But Trey Mancini hit a sharp line drive right at shortstop Didi Gregorius against a drawn-in infield and Adam Jones struck out swinging.
Only solos vs. Bundy: Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy (6-5) allowed just five hits in six innings Friday night, but two of those hits were solo homers, including a leadoff homer in the sixth that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
Bundy allowed a solo homer to Starlin Castro to open the bottom of the second, but after Gary Sanchez followed with a double off the center-field wall, Bundy retired 10 straight and 12 of 13 before allowing the home run to Hicks. Sanchez did score the tying run two batters into that stretch after tagging on back-to-back flyouts.
“I felt great," Bundy said. "The first two innings I felt like I was a little rusty with fastball command. I didn’t hit on some guys that I needed to, and then I got in the groove there after the second inning.”
Bundy rebounded from his shortest outing of the season, when he lasted just five innings, and converted his 11th quality start in 13 games this season.
“Good, real good again," Showalter said. "Dylan’s been solid. Just couldn’t get much done from that department once he left the game. But he pitched well like he’s been doing all year for us. It’s frustrating for him. Had a couple of close counts that got turned around with some borderline pitches. There’s a bunch of those. But Dylan presented himself real well again for us.”
Bundy escaped his biggest trouble in the sixth, when he put two on with one out after allowing the home run to Hicks.
Solid start: Tejada, who was making his first start with his new club as Manny Machado missed his second straight game with a strained left wrist, was the only Orioles hitter with multiple hits. The Orioles finished with five hits as a team.
Tejada singled in the second to go with his fifth-inning double and also made a nice backhanded diving play at third on Castro’s sharply hit grounder to get the Orioles out of the seventh inning.