BALTIMORE — Luis Severino showed he has yet to solve his long-standing problems with fastball command.
But he was far from the only Yankee who earned goat horns in a 6-5 loss to the Orioles on Friday night in front of 25,248 at Camden Yards.
Though Severino probably would be front and center in that department, Chase Headley, Greg Bird and Tyler Clippard certainly provided assistance.
The Yankees, who have yet to see a starter surpass five innings this season, fell to 1-3. The Orioles, who received monster homers from Manny Machado off Severino and Seth Smith off Clippard in coming back from a 5-1 deficit, are 3-0.
“We had that game,” said Clippard, who gave up the homer on a 2-and-1 fastball. “We had a four-run lead. Any time you have a four-run lead and you lose, it’s never good.”
Severino took that four-run lead into the bottom of the fifth, courtesy of two-run homers by Matt Holliday in the third and Gary Sanchez in the fifth off Ubaldo Jimenez.
Severino walked Adam Jones with two outs to put two aboard, then saw Machado attack a 96-mph fastball that was slightly inside but just above the knees and launch it to left-center to make it 5-4. “I tip my cap to Machado,” Severino said. “He hit a very good pitch.”
The righthander, who struck out Chris Davis to end the frame, allowed four runs and six hits in five innings. He retired 11 of 12 at one point and struck out six. Jimenez allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 1⁄3 innings.
“My slider was working really good, my fastball command after the [first] inning was good, so I feel very good,” Severino said.
After Jonathan Holder and Tommy Layne combined to get through the sixth with the one-run lead, Clippard came in for the seventh. Jonathan Schoop led off with a grounder to third, and Headley — who made several fine plays earlier in the game — threw the ball in the dirt to Bird at first. Bird couldn’t come up with the scoop, making an awkward attempt to catch it, and the two-base error put Schoop on second.
“It’s a play I want to make. I want to make it for him [Headley],” said Bird, who went 0-for-4 and is off to a 1-for-16 start. “It’s a tough one, but I feel like I can make it, so I just have to keep working on that.”
Said Headley: “Just a poor throw, and it really kind of gave them momentum and it really cost us. There’s a lot of firepower in that lineup and you have to keep them off the bases, and unfortunately, I made a mistake.”
J.J. Hardy’s sacrifice bunt moved Schoop to third and Smith sent a fastball from Clippard over the rightfield wall to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead, the only runs allowed by the Yankees’ bullpen in 16 2⁄3 innings.
“It was just a matter of the ball leaking over the middle of the plate,’’ Clippard said. “I’m trying to set him up for a strikeout, I don’t get a lot of ground balls, so that’s where my mind was at for that at-bat. It wasn’t a strike. It was above the zone and he just got the barrel to it.”
Righthander Brad Brach struck out the side in the top of the eighth and all-world closer Zach Britton pitched a perfect ninth for his second save. Chris Carter pinch hit for Bird (0-for-4, three strikeouts) and grounded to third to end it.
Holliday drove in three runs, including an RBI single in the first inning, and Brett Gardner had three hits and scored three runs.
“It’s a tough loss because I though Sevvy really threw the ball pretty well tonight and he made the one mistake to a really good hitter and he hit it out and it kind of changed the complexion of the game,” Joe Girardi said. “And then Seth Smith hits that two-run homer. Our bullpen has been really good, but we had a little blip in that too.”