New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano reacts after flying...

New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano reacts after flying out during the third inning. (April 27, 2010) Credit: AP

BALTIMORE - Though Joe Girardi tabbed Joba Chamberlain as his eighth-inning setup man for Mariano Rivera, the Yankees' bullpen beyond the closer is still very much a work in progress.

Chamberlain didn't distinguish himself in the two outings since his anointment and a pair of relievers made a mess of things against the Orioles last night in a 5-4 loss at Camden Yards.

Trailing 5-2 heading into the ninth, the Yankees scored two runs, but Alex Rodriguez grounded into a force play to end it, stranding the tying run at third.

Phil Hughes, not nearly as precise as he was last Wednesday when he no-hit Oakland for seven innings, grinded through 52/3 innings in which he allowed one run and two hits. Hughes struck out two and walked four, throwing 109 pitches.

He still left with a 2-1 lead with two outs in the sixth, but Boone Logan (one run) and David Robertson (two runs) failed to do their jobs.

"I got ahead a couple times and when I had an opportunity to get someone out, I just didn't make the pitch,'' said Robertson (0-1), whose ERA increased to 10.80. "You don't make pitches, guys are going to hit. This is the big leagues and balls are going to get hit hard when you leave them in the zone.''

Logan, a lefthander who replaced Hughes with two outs in the sixth, was brought in to face lefty designated hitter Luke Scott. He walked him, bringing Girardi back out to call on Robertson, who hit the first batter he faced, Ty Wigginton, with a fastball, then allowed three straight hits.

"You walk a guy, you hit a guy 0-2 and then it seemed to fall apart after that,'' Girardi said. "They got three runs with nobody on and two outs. It's something that you say shouldn't happen but it's the human element. We just couldn't get that third out.''

Hughes didn't look sharp from the start, needing 21 pitches to get through a scoreless first inning. He allowed his only run in the second, walking No. 9 hitter Cesar Izturis with the bases loaded. Hughes said he felt great in the bullpen, a sign of trouble as he felt lousy in the bullpen before his start in Oakland.

"I was a little worried when I wasn't missing a spot in the bullpen,'' Hughes said with a weary smile.

The changeup everyone heard about in spring training was called for once by catcher Jorge Posada and shaken off.

"I felt pretty bad out there,'' Hughes said. "There were times I was struggling with my mechanics, struggling with command. Everything. You just have those days I guess.''

The Yankees tied it in the third off Kevin Millwood, who allowed two runs and five hits in 51/3 innings. Nick Swisher and Randy Winn, starting in right and hitting ninth, singled. Winn's hit broke an 0-for-10 slide to start the season and made him 12-for-19 all-time against Millwood.

Derek Jeter grounded out as the runners moved up and Swisher scored when third baseman Miguel Tejada couldn't handle Brett Gardner's sharp grounder. The Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Posada hit a leadoff homer, his fifth of the season.

The Orioles tacked on what would prove to be a critical unearned run off Alfredo Aceves that made it 5-2 in the eighth. Wigginton reached when Jeter booted his grounder and pinch runner Julio Lugo reached third on Posada's throwing error on a steal attempt.

"It always hurts anytime you make an error and the guy ends up scoring,'' Jeter said. "Obviously, it doesn't feel good but it's just one of those things.''

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