NEW YORK - Well, that was a cruel tease.
Yankees left fielder Eduardo Nunez misjudged Nick Johnson’s fly ball in the sixth inning, freezing on it before breaking in and failing to make a lunging catch. The baseball world held its collective breath for the official scorer’s decision.
Johnson’s now 0-for-29 on the season, including 0-for-3 tonight.
The Orioles scored three runs in the sixth and knocked starter Phil Hughes out of the game. Hughes hit Matt Wieters with two outs, and reliever Boone Logan gave up a single to Chris Davis and an RBI single to Wilson Betemit.
Davis is 2-for-3 tonight, raising his average to .324.
Two runs scored on Nunez’s error, increasing the Orioles’ lead to 6-1.
Brian Matusz retired seven in a row and 13 of 15 before Derek Jeter’s ground-rule double in the fifth. Alex Rodiguez reached on a bunt single to open the sixth, but Matusz set down the next three Yankees.
Matusz, coming off his first quality start since the end of the 2010 season, has allowed one run and six hits in six innings, with no walks and four strikeouts. He’s thrown 90 pitches, 62 for strikes.
That walk total really jumps out at you.
Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk’s Chris Tillman has allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings vs. Indianapolis, with three walks and four strikeouts. He’s thrown 88 pitches, 55 for strikes.
Former Oriole Daniel Cabrera, making his first start of the season, was removed after allowing three runs and six hits, with four walks and one strikeout, in 3 2/3 innings. He threw 87 pitches, 44 for strikes.
Jai Miller hit a long two-run homer off Cabrera.
Update: Matusz has turned in back-to-back quality starts, holding New York to one run and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out four.
Matusz threw 97 pitches, 63 for strikes.
This is Matusz’s longest outing since Sept. 27, 2010, when he worked seven innings against Tampa Bay.
The Yankees loaded the bases with two outs when Derek Jeter singled and O’Day hit Curtis Granderson. Rodriguez popped up the first pitch from O’Day to end the threat.
O’Day hasn’t allowed a run or walked a batter in his last nine appearances, including tonight.
Update II: Johnson has ended the drought. His RBI double off Rafael Soriano in the eighth inning increased the Orioles’ lead to 7-1.
Davis led off with a double, giving him three hits and raising his average to .333. Johnson followed with a liner into right field that easily scored Davis.