BALTIMORE - What was supposed to be an unquestioned strength of the 2015 Yankees laid a major egg Wednesday night.
The result was a midgame lead flushed in a five-run sixth inning that sent the Bombers to a 7-5 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards.
It was a second straight loss for the Yankees (3-6) on this three-city, 10-game trip that continues tomorrow night in St. Petersburg against the Rays.
"It's not the way you want to start," Joe Girardi said of losing three straight series to division opponents to begin the season. "We need to turn it around. We need to start winning series or it becomes a long year."
Alex Rodriguez, who gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead in the fourth with his 656th career homer, moving him within four of Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list, said the Yankees need to sync up what he called the "four facets" of the game -- pitching, defense, timely hitting and baserunning.
"It's frustrating," said A-Rod, who went 2-for-3 with a walk. "We've shown flashes of good things in all four facets of our game. The key for us is to collectively get them all working in the same direction, get them in sync. Once we do that I think we'll get on a roll."
One of those facets bit the Yankees in the sixth. "You're winning after five, you've got a full bullpen, you feel pretty good about it," Girardi said. That feeling quickly evaporated.
Starter Nathan Eovaldi allowed two runs, eight hits, and three walks with nine strikeouts, but he lasted five innings and threw 101 pitches.
Righty David Carpenter (0-1), acquired in the Manny Banuelos deal this offseason, inherited a 3-2 lead to start the sixth, an inning in which the Orioles (5-4) batted around. Jonathan Schoop led off with his third homer, coming on a misplaced 0-and-1 slider, which tied it at 3.
"Hindsight's always 20/20, maybe I should have busted him in but it's a learning experience," Carpenter said. "I'm going to get him a lot more than he's going to get me."
Leadoff man Alejandro De Aza got Carpenter with a single and went to second on Everth Cabrera's sacrifice bunt. After an intentional walk to the red-hot Adam Jones, 11-for-17 in his previous five games coming in, Girardi brought in lefty Justin Wilson to face Travis Snider.
Buck Showalter countered by pinch hitting Delmon Young, who often crushes lefthanders. Young swung at the first pitch and scored De Aza with an RBI single. Chris Davis brought two more in with a double on a 2-and-2 cutter to make it 6-3.
"You hope to put a guy away right there but didn't make the exact pitch I wanted," Wilson said.
In came righty Chris Martin and, after Manny Machado flew out, Caleb Joseph flared a two-out single to center to make it 7-3.
The Yankees scored twice against Tommy Hunter in the eighth to make it 7-5 and had the go-ahead run at the plate with two outs in the ninth against Zach Britton, who escaped for his third save.
"We need to get going, there's no doubt about that," said Carlos Beltran, who hit a two-run double in the third -- he missed a homer by inches -- to make it 2-1. "It's been only nine games so we need to find a way to turn the page."