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Orioles lose eighth straight, are swept by Yankees, 5-3, on 'Sunday Night Baseball'

Sunday’s placement of the Orioles’ series finale with the New York Yankees in prime-time on national television only served to provide a larger audience to cringe and look away.

Even a bit of relative improvement from Dylan Bundy and the slow growth of an offensive identity couldn’t prevent a 5-3 loss to the visiting Yankees before an announced 17,343 at Camden Yards, condemning the Orioles to a set of ignominious feats.

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Their eighth loss in a row also marked their fifth four-game series without a win and second against an American League East rival in two weeks. The Boston Red Sox came in and took four games in three days earlier this month, and this set of defeats dropped the Orioles to a league-worst 37-94, putting them on pace for 116 losses. They’ve been swept 17 times overall.

This sad march toward the finish has been billed by manager Buck Showalter as an opportunity for a host of players to establish themselves as major leaguers. That’s not been accomplished in the form of winning baseball.

“They've been told and they know that,” Showalter said. “You'd like to have them get some return with some Ws, but that's been a challenge, putting a lot of games together.”

Said Jace Peterson: “You really can’t think about that. You start thinking about that kind of stuff, and before you know it, you kind of become miserable if things don’t go your way. Really, right now, we’re just trying to win ballgames, and it’s not been the funnest as far as the outcome of the game.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter stressed good evaluation and good communication as key aspects of the team's rebuild, and kept returning to the idea that the team has to sell hope to a fan base that might not see it in the club's 36-93 record.

The national ESPN audience at home wasn’t even treated to watching exciting young center fielder Cedric Mullins, who sat out with a sore hip. What they got instead was a look at an Orioles phenom of old, Bundy, who despite looking better couldn’t quite turn around what’s been the worst stretch of his career.

Bundy (7-13) looked strong in a perfect first inning, which featured a pair of strikeouts on 17 pitches, before the Yankees got to him. Bundy’s bugaboo this season, the poorly located fastball hit for a home run, reappeared with one out and two on in the second inning when Luke Voit hit a towering two-run homer on a middle-middle heater to put the Orioles down 2-0.

An inning later, Miguel Andújar, who had four multihit games in the series, doubled to score two more Yankees and bury the Orioles even further.

It wasn’t all bad for Bundy, who struck out seven — his most since July 29 — with his 16 swinging strikes, the most he’s logged since May 24. Considering he allowed seven earned runs in each of his past three starts, four in five innings is something of an improvement.

“I thought it was a tiny bit better, a step in the right direction,” Bundy said. “Still two pitches there, and that pretty much cost me the four runs. There was a little bit more to it, but for the most part, missing that fastball right over the plate and the home run, double, and that’s pretty much the runs there.”

His ERA crept up from 5.31 to 5.37, and the Orioles got on board with a bit of small-ball before he left.

Peterson walked and stole second base to open the second inning, eventually scoring on a sacrifice fly by Jonathan Villar. Reliever Cody Carroll allowed a run in the sixth, which proved useful to New York after the Orioles followed up in the home half with Trey Mancini’s 18th home run of the season and a run-scoring single by Peterson.

Peterson stole second base in that inning, too, and when Craig Gentry singled and swiped second in the seventh inning, the Orioles had their first four-steal game since July 3, 2014.

Despite three scoreless innings from Yefry Ramírez, who pitched in relief and presumably removed himself from consideration to start Tuesday, former Oriole Zach Britton and David Robertson kept the Orioles down in the late-innings to help New York complete a three-game jump in the standings behind Boston, ending Sunday six games out of first place.

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