BALTIMORE - It was a frustrating end to a frustrating first half.
The Yankees fell to the Orioles, 3-1, early Monday morning in a game called in the bottom of the fifth inning after a rain delay of 2 hours, 22 minutes.
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And in some ways, the night encapsulated a first half in which the Yankees pulled into the All-Star break at 47-47, five games behind the first-place Orioles (52-42).
"With everything that we've had go wrong, we're still in it, and that's the big thing," Joe Girardi said afterward. "We have to take advantage of that when we get back to work on Friday."
Except for All-Stars Derek Jeter and Dellin Betances, who flew to Minneapolis on a private plane, the Yankees are off until Friday, when they open a three-game series against the Reds at the Stadium.
As was the case much of the first half, the Yankees received decent enough pitching but little on offense. After shutting out the Orioles for three innings, rookie Chase Whitley (4-3) allowed three runs in the fourth, two of them coming on Chris Davis' 15th homer, an opposite-field shot to left that made it 2-1.
Baltimore tacked on one more in the inning when J.J. Hardy doubled three pitches after Davis' homer and scored two outs later on Jonathan Schoop's single.
Brett Gardner's leadoff blast over the rightfield wall off Kevin Gausman (4-2) gave him a career-high nine homers this season and gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
As the Orioles batted in the bottom of the fifth, cyclonic winds begin swirling trash all over Camden Yards and crew chief Jim Joyce soon called for the tarp at 9:48 p.m..
Girardi was not concerned. The forecast called for a storm lasting about 30 minutes.
"We knew it was coming," Girardi said of the rain, "but originally it was supposed to be a half-hour, so you're not thinking it's a big deal."
The expected window to resume the game never came, however, and a little after midnight, Joyce signaled to the public address announcer that the game had been called.
Would Girardi have preferred it if the umpires had waited a bit longer?
"They're talking about at least another two hours of rain and then there's more after that . . . so it doesn't seem like there's any chance of finishing the game," Girardi said.
He then suggested a rules change; instead of having a rain-shortened game, postpone it.
"My preference would be that you come back and finish it. That would be my preference," said Girardi, whose club has two more trips to Baltimore. "I know when you go to a city one time and it happens , you have to live with it. It would be changing what they've done in the past, but I think it's something to look at. We're coming back [to Baltimore], why don't we finish it?"
No such luck in that way, or in the pace of the game. Had the contest moved at the usual glacial speed of a Yankees Sunday nighter, the 4 innings necessary for an official game (given that the home team was leading) would not have been reached.
"It's extremely disappointing," Girardi said. "You think about, in the other case, if the game would have been 10 minutes slower, we would have never got to that spot. It's unfortunate. But it is what it is and you have to deal with it and you have to move on."
Said Whitley: "That's definitely [tough], a rain-shortened loss, because we didn't have a chance to come back. That's tough, but I feel good about our chances in the second half. We'll be all right."