NEW YORK - Nolan Reimold reached on an infield hit in the second inning, took second base on a throwing error by Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte and scored on Alexi Casilla’s double.
Casilla has nine RBIs as he continues to chase Chris Davis.
“I just want to get Casi back on the field,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said before the game. “He’s been sitting a little bit.”
The Yankees scored twice in the bottom of the second to reduce the lead to 3-2. The first four batters reached on a walk and three singles, the last by Luis Cruz. Eduardo Nunez followed with a sacrifice fly, but Reimold cut down Lyle Overbay at third base. Huge out.
Meanwhile, Showalter doesn’t sound as though he’s considering a change in closers despite Jim Johnson’s latest blown save last night, which raised the right-hander’s total to six.
“Jimmy would like to get out there every day. I hope he makes the All-Star team, personally. We’ll see,” Showalter said.
“In a perfect world, you’d have one (closer). That fits better for everybody else. Not everybody’s got Mariano Rivera. Jimmy early this year for quite a while, and last year, was solid. It’s a hard job. Everybody here’s got a job to do. You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, too. Physically, who can do it? That’s a big factor that people miss. When you look at the seven or eight save leaders in each league, the one thing they have in common is they can pitch three or four days in a row, and that’s hard to find.”
When it was suggested that Showalter is sticking with his guy, he replied, “I don’t look at it as sticking. We’re all hired here to do a job. Nobody understands that more than Jimmy and me, everybody. We think Jimmy’s our best option, and for it to work for us, because we don’t have anybody physically that can necessarily stand up to that. On a given day when he needs some rest and somebody else is properly rested... You know, Tommy (Hunter) couldn’t pitch yesterday and Tommy may not be able to pitch today. That’s kind of what happens when he pitches a couple days. Know your players and what you can and can’t do. I’m not going to get them hurt.”
In other news, Steve Johnson threw off a mound today for the first time since straining his left oblique. He threw 30 pitches - fastballs and changeups only - and will return to the mound on Monday.
The Yankees have changed starters for Sunday’s series finale. Hiroki Kuroda is getting the ball instead of Phil Hughes.
Brian Roberts never batted fifth to start a game before today.
“It just kind of fits with our lineup, with some of the things we want to do,” Showalter said.
I asked Showalter whether shortstop J.J. Hardy is dealing with a shoulder or elbow issue.
“Richie (Bancells) and I talk about all of them after each game,” Showalter said. “There’s nobody out there 100 percent. Everybody’s dealing with a little bit. There’s always, right before the All-Star break, where everybody might get a cortisone injection or something like that. I haven’t heard whether any of our guys are going to. I think Tilly’s got something with one of his toes. They might inject with something else. That’s the only thing I heard.
“J.J. is saving his bullets. He paces himself.”
I wrote last night that Nate McLouth hasn’t stolen a base since June 19 and was caught stealing on his only other attempt on June 22.
“I think Nate’s not going to run into outs,” Showalter said. “If it’s there, he’ll take it. He just feels like if guys are being that fast to the plate, it’s making his teammate better offensively swinging the bat. Also, he’s not going to broadcast that his legs are feeling good that night or not feeling good.
“There’s a lot of factors that go into it. He’s not a guy that everything has to be perfect to steal a base. He’s got some smart recklessness about him, too. And he goes through periods where he just doesn’t feel like it’s there, the risk is in his favor. I’m OK with that. I trust him.”
Update: Taylor Teagarden’s RBI single gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead in the fourth, but the Yankees scored twice in the fifth on RBI singles by Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano to tie the game.
T.J. McFarland was warming in the Orioles’ bullpen as Tillman continued to labor. Tillman is up to 93 pitches through the fifth.
Tillman has won a career-high seven straight decisions and is 6-0 in seven road starts, but this hasn’t been one of his better days.