The first five Orioles reached base tonight. Aside from one walk — when Felix Pie swung at two of the first three pitches — none of those at-bats lasted more than three pitches.
“They were just aggressive, swinging early and it kind of took my aggressiveness away,” CC Sabathia said. “(I was) trying to be aggressive in the strike zone, and they were swinging early. They put some good swings on some balls.”
Of course, there’s a way to adjust to that aggressiveness, but Sabathia had trouble making the change.
“Just try to get them to chase a little bit more,” he said. “Throw some offspeed pitches early in the count. I pitch off my fastball, and I just wasn’t able to get offspeed pitches over for strikes early in the count.”
Most of the early hits were pretty weak, but as Sabathia said, the Orioles hit some balls hard off him too. Bottom line, Sabathia didn’t have it tonight. You don’t expect it from a guy like him, but it happens. No. 20 will have to wait.
“Sometimes when you give some hits off the end of the bat, it can be just not quite exactly where you want it,” Joe Girardi said. “I didn’t think he threw terrible, I didn’t feel that. I just felt it wasn’t quite down in the zone as much as we’re used to seeing.”
• Sabathia had not lost a game at Yankee Stadium since July 2 of last year, a streak of 21 undefeated starts. He remains tied with Whitey Ford for the longest undefeated streak of starts by a Yankee at any stadium.
• This was Sabathia’s second career loss against the Orioles.
• Lance Berkman matched his season high with three hits. He reached base to leads off three innings but scored only once. He’s 8-for-16 since coming off the disabled list. “We liked the way he was swinging the bat right before he got hurt, too,” Girardi said. “I think he just started to get comfortable before he got hurt, it was unfortunate that he got hurt and I think he’s just kind of carried it over.”
• Alex Rodriguez is hitless in 11 career pinch hit appearances.
• Girardi on the decision to not let Rodriguez play the field: “I hadn’t planned on putting him in the field. I just wanted to make sure he was OK after he came out. I had talked about him pinch hitting and that would be it tonight. I didn’t pinch run for him just in case his spot comes up again in the inning. He’s not the tying run. At that point, we still have some runs to get.”
• Girardi on the goofy seventh inning that saw a 6-4 force out and a 5-6-4 force out: “I don’t fault our base-runners. I think you have to be smart about it. You get a popup that’s probably going to be caught most of the time and it’s not caught. You can’t have Curtis (Granderson) being doubled up the other way. You have to play it somewhat cautious. Then you get Alex hitting a line drive to the third baseman that he doesn’t catch. It’s just some bad luck on our part.”
• Girardi and Derek Jeter were both actually happy with the way the Yankees hit against Jake Arrieta. Girardi said the Yankees hit into some bad luck. “Early on we hit a lot of balls hard, but a lot of balls right to some people,” Jeter said. “After that, he seemed to settle down. He worked quick, threw strikes and we couldn’t get much going.”
• Curtis Granderson is the Yankees nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for sportsmanship and community involvement.
• As you’d expect, Sabathia said the idea of reaching 20 wins never entered his mind today.
• Kerry Wood. Still really, really good since coming to the Yankees. He’s allowed one earned run and struck out 20 in 16.2 innings.
• Two more hitless innings from Chad Gaudin. The guy who was cut in spring training has been pretty good in that long role.
• The Yankees are the only team in the Majors that has not lost four straight games this season.
• Jeter on the Yankees three-game losing streak: “We’re right back here in a couple of hours. There’s ups and downs and you ride them out. Hope that the highs last a while and the lows are over quick. We don’t have much time to think about this one.”
Associated Press photos of Sabathia and Berkman