BALTIMORE - The morning after perhaps the most deflating day of the season, Joe Girardi said his club had no option but to soldier on.
"I don't think you have any other choice but to keep fighting," the Yankees manager said. "Other teams are having their issues, as I said yesterday, and why not? You run off a streak, all of a sudden you're back in it."
Saturday's 3-2 win over the Orioles didn't accomplish that for the Yankees, but it did get some of the bitter taste of Friday's doubleheader sweep by Baltimore out of their mouths.
"It's a great, nice bounce-back win," Girardi said.
Indicative of the time of year, Girardi called on David Robertson, who threw 35 pitches in 12/3 innings in Friday's first game, to close. After allowing a leadoff single to Jimmy Paredes, who won Friday's first game with a walk-off two-run double in the 11th inning, Robertson retired three straight, the last two with a runner in scoring position, and recorded his 36th save in 39 chances.
"Every win's big for us right now," said Robertson, who admitted to being a little "sore" before the game. "We've dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, but this is September baseball and I've seen amazing things happen. I've seen Tampa get in on the last day and Boston fall out of the playoffs. You can't give up hope."
It would take something amazing -- along the lines of what took place in 2011 with Tampa Bay and Boston -- for the Yankees (76-71) to make the postseason. With 15 games left, they are 11½ games behind the AL East-leading Orioles (88-60) and five games behind the Royals (81-66) in the race for the second wild card. They also trail the Mariners (80-67) and Blue Jays (77-70).
"I told you, we're going to have to win a lot of games, so you win one tomorrow is what you can do," Girardi said. "We have to go out and win one tomorrow."
Brian McCann, who highlighted a three-run second inning with his 19th homer of the season and first road homer since May 23, said the Yankees are beyond scoreboard-watching. "All we can do is come out here and worry about ourselves," he said. "We have to win."
Victory aside, however, nothing that occurred Saturday showed the Yankees to be a club capable of the kind of wild run they need to go on to make things interesting.
After scoring one run in 20 innings Friday, the Yankees had only four hits for the second straight game -- three in one inning -- and scored only three runs Saturday, all in the second inning against righthander Miguel Gonzalez (9-8). And what proved to be the winning run scored on a double steal.
After McCann one-handed a 1-and-2 changeup at his shoetops over the high scoreboard wall in rightfield, Mark Teixeira walked and Chris Young doubled him to third. Antoan Richardson singled to right on the next pitch to make it 2-0.
Then, with two outs and an 0-and-2 count on Jacoby Ellsbury, Richardson broke for second. When Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph threw through, Richardson stole the base and Young stole home without a throw.
Yankees rookie righthander Shane Greene (5-3), fighting a ballooning pitch count early on, allowed two runs and seven hits in 51/3 innings. He walked one and struck out nine.
Nelson Cruz's two-out RBI single in the third drove in Baltimore's first run. Steve Pearce hit his 17th homer of the season, hooking a sharp-breaking 0-and-2 slider away, to bring the Orioles within 3-2 in the sixth and end Greene's day at 112 pitches.
The bullpen was terrific, with Esmil Rogers, Josh Outman and Shawn Kelley getting the ball to Robertson, who did insert some drama in the ninth.
He allowed a leadoff single to Paredes, who went to second on Ryan Flaherty's sacrifice bunt. But Robertson got pinch hitter Delmon Young on a grounder to short, with Paredes moving to third, and ended it by inducing a soft groundout to second by Nick Markakis.
"A little bit in my shoulder, my sides and my hamstrings were real tight when I was stretching, but I was good to go," Robertson said in describing how he felt warming up. "I knew I had enough to get the job done."
Earlier in the season, Girardi almost certainly would not have called on Robertson after a 35-pitch outing the day before. But these, of course, are desperate times.
How sore would Robertson have needed to be to tell Girardi he couldn't go?
"Like unable to get the ball to the catcher," he said, "to not come in there today."