Aaron Boone likes to gaze up at the scoreboard during games to track the out-of-town results. But deep into the afternoon on Saturday, the Yankees' manager also could look up at the main board and see a big "0" under his team's hits column.
Baltimore brought a major league-worst 41-92 record into the game and had lost 25 of its previous 28, thanks in large part to a pitching staff that owned a major league-worst 5.81 ERA. The Orioles, however, had a three-run lead and a combined no-hitter going with one out in the seventh.
The bid ended there on an RBI infield single up the middle by Gleyber Torres, and Joey Gallo tied the score with a two-run homer in the eighth. But the Orioles scored a run off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth and emerged with a 4-3 win.
So the Yankees, who were outhit 11-3, fell to 78-57 and dropped 7 1/2 games behind AL East-leading Tampa Bay. Their lead over Boston for the first wild card dropped to a half-game.
"I mean, look, these games are super- important," Boone said. "We’re trying to win them. We got held down enough today. So that’s frustrating and unfortunate, but we’ve got a big one tomorrow that we’ve got to grab."
Lately, the offense has brought back bad memories of the Yankees' first-half struggles. They are 2-5 since their 13-game winning streak and are batting a collective .202, including 11 double-play balls, in that span.
Chapman (5-4) also has had an inconsistent season. The closer helped the wrong team in the ninth.
Ryan Mountcastle led off by striking out swinging at a pitch in the dirt but reached first on the wild pitch. Austin Hays lined a single to left and Trey Mancini walked to load the bases with none out.
Ramon Urias struck out looking but Pedro Severino lifted a sacrifice fly to left on a 3-and-2 slider to put the Orioles ahead.
"Definitely some bad moments," Chapman said of his year via an interpreter. "Just fighting to be able to overcome those bad moments . . . You’ve got to keep working at it."
Cole Sulser recorded the last four outs for the Orioles. Chris Ellis started for Baltimore and threw 92 pitches in the first five innings. He allowed three walks and stranded three runners in scoring position.
Tanner Scott pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, but the lefty ran into trouble in the seventh. The first two Yankees reached thanks to an error and a walk, and Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde replaced Scott with Marcos Diplan.
Pinch hitter Gary Sanchez flied to center, with Anthony Rizzo tagging and reaching third. Torres also pinch hit and sent a grounder toward the middle. Second baseman Jahmai Jones ranged to his right, but the ball kicked off his glove. The Yankees had their first hit and trailed 3-1.
DJ LeMahieu led off the eighth with an infield single and Hyde brought on righty Jorge Lopez to pitch to Gallo, who rocketed a 1-and-2 changeup into the rightfield seats to tie it at 3-3. His sixth homer as a Yankee and 31st overall lifted his batting average with his new team to .138.
"That was pretty big for me individually," Gallo said. "Things haven’t been going great for me, but it’s part of the game."
Jordan Montgomery started for the Yankees and didn’t make it out of the fifth. The lefty threw 97 pitches in 4 2/3 innings, allowing one run, six hits and two walks. The only run off him scored on a two-out wild pitch.
"I wasn’t very good today," Montgomery said.
Baltimore scored two more in the seventh against Wandy Peralta. Cedric Mullins’ RBI double and Hays’ run-scoring fielder’s choice made it 3-0.
So the Yankees fell to 9-6 against the lowly Orioles (compared with the Rays' 18-1 record against Baltimore). As Gallo put it, "I think this group is good at kind of just moving on to the next day."