We all knew the winning streak wouldn't last forever, and tonight looked more like the Yankees-Orioles matchups we're used to seeing. Brian Matusz got rocked again, this time to the tune of 6 runs in 5.1 innings. He only gave up six hits, but three of those were home runs. Meanwhile the Orioles offense couldn't build on an early lead against Ivan Nova and allowed themselves to be shut down over the final six innings.
Things didn't start off terribly for Matusz. He allowed a double in the first inning to Mark Teixeira, but it was a weak hit that just got past Mark Reynolds at first base. And he finished the inning by striking out Robinson Cano on a 92-mph fastball. He issued the first of two walks in the second inning, but an inning ending double play by Russell Martin erased the mistake.
With Matusz shutting out the Yankees over the first two innings, the Orioles had an opportunity to get an early lead. They were successful. With one out, Nick Markakis doubled to left-center and moved to third on a wild pitch. Adam Jones hit a fly ball to deep left and Nick scored. In the second inning, Mark Reynolds singled and came around to score from first on a deep double to right field by Ryan Adams. Adams has been pretty impressive since his call up, I have to say. I hope he can keep it up. Unfortunately Adams, who reached second with no outs, was stranded.
J.J. Hardy started the bottom of the third inning with a double, then moved to third on a ground out by Markakis. Adam Jones again came to the plate and again hit a sacrifice fly, this one tying the game at three. Unfortunately, the Orioles bats went quiet after that as Nova shut them down. In innings four through seven, Nova allowed one single (that was taken out on a double play) and one walk.
Even more unfortunately, the Yankees offense did not stop. After retiring the side in order in the fourth and fifth innings, Matusz fell victim to the long ball in the sixth. He struck out Granderson for the first out, but then after a single by Teixeira, Robinson Cano hit his twenty-third home run of the year to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead. Nick Swisher followed that with a home run of his own and that was it for Matusz. His final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 3 HR. He threw 97 pitches, 61 for strikes.
Chris Jakubauskas replaced Matusz, but he wasn't any better. Andruw Jones took him deep as well, giving the Yankees back-to-back-to-back home runs for the first time since May 20, 2009. Any guesses which team they hit those off of? If you answered the Orioles, you know this team as well I as I do. Jack O'Boskie then gave up a single to Martin, but struck out the next two to end the inning.
Jack O'Boskie was replaced in the seventh inning by Mark Hendrickson. Hendo was called up today to take the place of Troy Patton, who has moved to the restricted list so that he could attend to that whole DWI mess from the spring. How is it that Hendo gets into the game in his first day back, but Patton is treated like a non-entity? Anyway, the lefty Hendo was brought in to face the lefty Granderson, who hit his second home run of the night. He also gave up a two-out double to Cano, but stranded him.
Nova started the 8th inning and was greeted with a single up the middle from Hardy, then walked Markakis. He looked a bit gassed and with a five-run lead, he left the game in favor of David Robertson. Adam Jones slapped an opposite field single to load the bases for Vladimir Guerrero. Oh, great! You know who you want up on a situation such at this? Your cleanup hitter! After all, the guy with the most power and who is one of the best hitters gets to bat fourth, right? Not on the Orioles! The Orioles get Vlad, although instead of grounding into a double play the way I thought he would, he simply struck out on a ball that bounced in front of the plate.
Reynolds then came to the plate, the home run leader. He's also the strikeout leader, of course, and that's what he did. That left the rally up to rookie Ryan Adams, who completed the strikeout trifecta. That's the team I'm used to, scoring nothing after loading the bases with no outs.
Brad Bergesen, who had pitched a good 8th inning, finished the 9th for the O's. He was the only Orioles pitcher who didn't get up a run. Hector Noesi took the 9th for the Yankees as the Orioles went down quietly to end the game.
Even with tonight's loss, the Orioles have taken two out of three from the Yankees with one more game tomorrow. The finale is tomorrow with Alfredo Simon slated to face Freddy Garcia.