BALTIMORE – Never did winning five of eight seem so unimpressive.
The Yankees, who took three of four against pitching-rich Cleveland to start this eight-game trip, had a chance to do the same to the weak Orioles Thursday afternoon.
But Yankee bats, which at various points during the past week gave notice of a possible long-awaited surge after mostly slumping to start the season, again were too quiet in a 4-3 loss in 10 innings in front of 7,738 at Camden Yards. The Yankees (11-14) now share last place with the Orioles in the AL East.
Ramon Urias, per the extra-inning rule implemented last season, came in on Cedric Mullins’ sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th against Jonathan Loaisiga to earn Baltimore a series split.
Pat Valaika’s sacrifice bunt – something Tyler Wade failed to accomplish in the top half of the inning – got Urias to third and Mullins skied Loaisiga’s 0-and-1 changeup to medium center. Aaron Hicks’ throw home wasn’t close, sailing well up the third-base line.
"Go out on a road trip and have a winning record like that, certainly that's good," manager Aaron Boone said. "But we also know that there's a game or two that, one thing here, one thing there, and all of a sudden it's a special trip."
The Yankees, who managed eight hits, three by a resurgent Giancarlo Stanton, start a three-game series against the Tigers Friday night at the Stadium.
Gio Urshela started the 10th on second base against lefty Tanner Scott. But Wade couldn’t get a bunt down, fouling his attempt with two strikes for the first out. Hicks, still mired in a month-long slump, bounced back to the pitcher, also failing to move the runner. The Orioles intentionally walked Gary Sanchez, but Scott struck out Mike Ford.
"That's a tough matchup, lefty on left bunt," Boone said. "But that's obviously something Wade has got to handle."
The Orioles had taken a 3-2 lead in the eighth on Austin Hays’ RBI double against Darren O’Day. O’Day, a former Oriole who came in with a 2.25 ERA in nine appearances, walked Mullins to start the inning.
But the Yankees came back against Cesar Valdez in the top of the ninth as Ford, pinch hitting for Clint Frazier, led off with a walk, as did DJ LeMahieu with one out. Stanton struck out but Gleyber Torres, down to his last strike, lashed a 1-and-2 changeup to left-center, getting a bad break when the ball hopped over the wall for a ground rule double that brought just one run across instead of the two that would have scored had the ball stayed in play. Been that kind of year for the offense, which Thursday, once again, experienced mostly frustration, going 3-for-14 with RISP and stranding 12.
Jorge Lopez, who came in 1-3 with an 8.15 ERA and who allowed four runs and three hits against the Yankees April 5, allowed two runs and four hits over four innings Thursday. Five Baltimore relievers combined to allow just one run from there.
Jordan Montgomery, 1-1 with a 4.57 ERA coming in, allowed two runs and six hits over five innings. The lefthander took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth – courtesy of Rougned Odor’s two-out, two-run single in the fifth, but Trey Mancini led off by hitting a game-tying homer.
And the lefthander did not sound thrilled to come out having thrown just 74 pitches (Montgomery threw 89 pitches in his previous start, Friday in Cleveland).
"My last two innings of the game for me, and I was in a good spot," said Montgomery, who had retired seven of eight before the homer. "Obviously, Boone made his decision, but I’m always going to want to keep throwing."
Montgomery, who allowed three runs in a 37-pitch first inning in that Cleveland start, allowed a run in an 18-pitch first Thursday.
"Just going out there and aiming, really not throwing the ball aggressively, not trusting my mechanics," Montgomery said of his first-inning difficulties of late. "Once you’re there, you’re not going to be able to throw strikes. I’ve just got to trust my stuff."