BALTIMORE — Joe Girardi has used the same line over the years when a trusted reliever doesn’t get the job done, and he went to it again Sunday. “They’re not going to be perfect.”
That was the case for Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman and, unfortunately for the Yankees, it occurred in a game in which they needed them to be just that. First Betances and then Chapman couldn’t finish things off, leading to a brutal 3-1 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards.
“I just feel like that’s a game we should have won,” said Brett Gardner, who had three of the Yankees’ 10 hits. “We scored one run, we have to do better than that. We had a chance to win the series and we kind of gave it away.”
Both offenses were mostly awful, combining to go 3-for-22 with runners in scoring position and stranding 10 runners each. But the Orioles (32-23) came through when they needed to.
CC Sabathia battled command issues but grinded through five shutout innings. After he walked Chris Davis to start the sixth, Girardi inserted righthander Kirby Yates. He retired three straight, two on strikeouts, before giving way to Betances.
The righthander, who has allowed at least one run in four straight outings (giving up six runs and seven hits in 4 2⁄3 innings in that span to raise his ERA from 1.93 to 3.54), struck out Manny Machado to strand a runner at third in the seventh.
As apocalyptic clouds settled over the stadium, Betances started the eighth by walking Mark Trumbo and allowing a single by Davis. With the count full and the crowd roaring, Betances struck out Nolan Reimold on a 97-mph fastball. Girardi called for Chapman and crew chief Bill Miller called for the tarp. The rain began falling no more than two minutes later.
“You don’t want to put your closer in that situation,” Betances (2-4) said of turning things over to Chapman with men on base. “I put him in a tough spot.”
When play resumed after a 1-hour, 37-minute delay, Chapman struck out Jonathan Schoop on a 100-mph fastball, but Francisco Peña, the son of Yankees coach Tony Peña, loaded the bases with a single to right.
Chapman got ahead of pinch hitter Matt Wieters 0-and-2, but he singled up the middle on the next pitch. Two runs scored and a third came across on Jacoby Ellsbury’s wild throw home as Chapman, to the irritation of Girardi, did not back up the plate.
Of the 101-mph fastball Wie ters banged into center, Chapman said: “I wanted to go with the high pitch. Unfortunately, it went down and he hit it.” It was his first blown save in 10 chances.
When asked about the long delay, Chapman said, “I don’t think it affected me at all,” although he was forced to warm up twice. “I felt good.”
Sabathia (2.58 ERA) allowed two hits and six walks, matching a career high, in five innings-plus. He has a 0.87 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 31 innings in his last five games.
Orioles starter Kevin Gausman allowed one run and seven hits in six innings. The run came in the third on a two-out single by Alex Rod riguez.
The Yankees (26-30), who went 4-6 on the four-city trip, start a four-game series with the Angels at the Stadium on Monday night.
“We have a good team in there. We know what we’re capable of,” Sabathia said of his club, which is 4-8 since reaching .500 May 24. “We just have to put it all together. We haven’t done that yet, but you see what we can do when we got on a roll to get back to .500. I’m confident we can get back to .500 and play well after that.”