BALTIMORE -- Again, it was on the broad shoulders of CC Sabathia to restore a sense of calm to the Yankee universe.
"CC's been big in these situations and we need him to come up big tonight,'' Joe Girardi said Tuesday afternoon.
This time it wasn't to be.
Though he wasn't awful, Sabathia nonetheless was dramatically outpitched by Wei-Yin Chen in a 5-2 loss to the Orioles Tuesday night in front of 24,055 at Camden Yards.
"I felt like I was grinding from the second inning on,'' said Sabathia, who allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings in seeing his five-game winning streak snapped, a stretch in which he posted a 2.52 ERA.
It was also a rare loss for Sabathia (5-1, 3.77) against the Orioles, a team he came in against 16-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 23 starts, including 10-1 with a 2.95 ERA at Camden Yards.
The Yankees (20-16), who start a two-game series Wednesday night in Toronto, didn't help the lefthander at the plate, their feast-or-famine offense starving until Curtis Granderson's 13th homer with two outs in the seventh cut the Orioles' lead in half, 4-2. The Yankees, who learned before the game that closer David Robertson was headed for the DL, went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and are hitting .243 with RISP this season. It's as big a reason as any -- inconsistent starting pitching also has been a culprit -- they haven't put together any significant winning streaks.
"There's a lot of good pitching in the American League and you're going to see it day in and day out,'' Girardi said. "We're a club that hits the ball out of the ballpark for the most part and we have guys that hit the ball in the gap, and we haven't seemed to do that on a consistent basis with runners in scoring position.''
The Yankees could have used a fifth straight start from Sabathia in which he lasted eight innings, but the lefthander wasn't able to oblige, though a short bullpen was mostly saved as Freddy Garcia went the final two innings.
Chen was outstanding, shutting out the Yankees until Granderson's opposite-field blast -- a Yankees fan very well might have kept leftfielder Xavier Avery from making a catch attempt -- put them on the board.
Robinson Cano scored on the homer, with his double to lead off the seventh breaking up a streak of 10 straight retired by Chen (4-0, 2,45), who allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings.
"He pitched well, he's been doing that since the season started,'' said Derek Jeter who had one of the Yankees' five hits.
The Orioles (23-14) got one of those runs back in the bottom of the seventh against Garcia as Adam Jones, whose 11th homer of the season in the second made it 1-0, led off with a single and stole second on a bang-bang play that firstJeter, then Girardi argued.
"I thought he was clearly out,'' Girardi said.
After a ground out and a strikeout, Jones scored on a passed ball charged to Chris Stewart, who got the start as Sabathia's catcher a fifth straight time.
"Inexcusable,'' said Stewart, who had two passed balls in the game.
Pedro Strop came on in the eighth to face Russell Martin and the righthander walked the catcher and Jeter. Strop, however, got out of it when Nick Swisher grounded into a force out to put runners at the corners, then started a 1-6-3 double play from Cano.
"You'd like to be consistent,'' Jeter said of the offense. "It seems like when guys get hot, everyone gets hot. Sometimes when you scuffle, a lot of people scuffle. But you have to keep things in perspective. Pitchers on the other teams, they have jobs to do, too. We'd like to come out and score a lot of runs everyday but that's not always going to be the case.''