The Yankees came into their critical series with the second place Baltimore Orioles brushing off any concerns over their dwindling lead in the AL East. But after the Orioles handed them a deflating 6-1 loss on Friday night that cut the Yankees’ lead in the division to just two games, it might be time to start playing with a bit more urgency.
Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez was stellar against a depleted Yankees lineup, allowing just four hits, one walk and no runs while striking out nine over seven innings. He worked efficiently throughout the night, showing the ability to get ahead in the count and put away Yankee hitters without wasting too many pitches. The right-hander got through seven innings on 97 pitches.
The Yankees felt good about their chances heading into the game because they were sending their most consistent pitcher to the mound, Hiroki Kuroda. The 37-year-old right-hander has been brilliant of late, but the Orioles got to him early.
Adam Jones and Matt Wieters led off the top of the second with back-to-back singles, with Jones coming home on a sac fly from Chris Davis. Mark Reynolds followed with a two-run homer, and just like that, Baltimore had a 3-0 lead.
Kuroda settled down to retire the next nine batters in a row, but J.J. Hardy broke that streak with a solo home run in the top of the sixth to extend the Orioles’ lead to 4-0.