BALTIMORE -- For five innings Friday night, it appeared that CC Sabathia not only was going to record his 200th win but might do it in spectacular fashion.
The lefthander, with as good a changeup as he's had all season and a fastball approaching the mid-90s velocity of old, took a no-hitter into the sixth. But that history-making possibility quickly evaporated when Nate McLouth led off with a single on an 0-and-2 pitch, and Sabathia's three-run lead soon vanished.
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An inning later, McLouth delivered a far more hurtful blow, launching a 1-and-0 slider over the rightfield wall to give the Orioles a 4-3 victory over the Yankees in front of a noisy crowd of 40,041 at Camden Yards. "Things like tonight can't happen," Sabathia said. "Sixth inning, seventh inning, it just can't happen."
As McLouth's blast sailed into the muggy night air and over the high wall in right, Sabathia and Chris Stewart simultaneously went to their knees, heads bowed. After the inning ended, Sabathia (8-6, 4.15), who allowed four runs and five hits in seven innings, fired his glove and hat into the dugout. "It's super-frustrating,'' he said, adding: "I try not to show my emotions too much, but it happens."
The Yankees (42-37), who outhit the Orioles 11-5 but struck out 11 times, lost for the 11th time in 16 games and fell 5½ games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.
After McLouth's single in the sixth, Alexi Casilla hit a trickler to the first-base side of the mound. Sabathia picked up the ball -- but David Adams, making his first career start at first base, also went after it, leaving the bag unoccupied. "That's my fault,'' Adams said, "I messed up. I need to be on the bag on that. I can't blame it on that . I have to know what I need to do there. I need to be on the bag, that's the bottom line."
One out later, Manny Machado ripped a 2-and-1 changeup into the gap in right-center for a two-run double that made it 3-2. It was his MLB-leading 37th double.
Machado tagged up and went to third on J.J. Hardy's flyout to center, which proved significant. Adam Jones hit a squibber, again to the first-base side of the mound, that he beat out to tie the score at 3-3.
The inning included four hits but only two hard-hit balls. "It doesn't matter," Sabathia said. "Three runs is three runs."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter originally was going to start righthander Kevin Gausman, who went 1-1 for LSU against Stony Brook University in the Baton Rouge Super Regional last year and was drafted fourth overall by the Orioles. But the Yankees have struggled against lefthanders, and Showalter switched to lefty T.J. McFarland. That move was not successful, but after Gausman relieved McFarland, he pitched 41/3 scoreless innings and got the win.
Robinson Cano had three hits and Brett Gardner added two for the Yankees, who scored three runs in the first three innings on RBI singles by Cano, Vernon Wells and Stewart but regretted not doing more damage -- a common theme this season.
"We had some opportunities and we weren't able to do it, and Gausman came in and threw the ball pretty well," Joe Girardi said. "But we had some early opportunities and were only able to get three runs."
Girardi said Sabathia has "thrown the ball all right" and, more important, that his "stuff is getting better as the year's going on." Sabathia had a different take, mentioning not "being able to put together a whole start."
"I almost cussed right there," he said of evaluating his season to date. "But not very good. Not very good."