O’s dig early hole, lose series finale to split with Yankees

Zach Britton took the mound today with a record of 4-0 and ERA of 0.94 over his previous four starts. But it didn’t go nearly that well for him, and he allowed five runs over 3 1/3 innings as the Yankees crushed the Orioles 13-3 at Camden Yards to gain a split of their four-game series.

The Yankees arrived in town Thursday with a one-game American League East lead and will leave with that same edge on the Orioles.

Today’s game drew 40,346 to the Yard and the four-date series attracted 173,572.

The Orioles missed several chances today. A win would have put them into sole possession of the division lead and given them their first season series win over New York since 1997. But the teams finished their series by splitting 18 games.

One inning after he was hit in the face by a ground ball to end the third inning, Britton lost the strike zone in the fourth, walking three straight batters as New York scored four times to open a 5-0 lead.

Britton took the loss and is 5-2 with an ERA of 4.72 on the season. He is 1-3 with an ERA of 7.82 in six career starts versus the Yankees.

Curtis Granderson didn’t start today’s game, but drove in five runs with a pinch-hit solo homer in the sixth, a two-run single in the seventh and two-run double in the eighth.

The Orioles, in their first game without Nick Markakis after he suffered a broken left thumb last night, scored three in the fourth to pull within 5-3 on a Wilson Betemit two-run double and Matt Wieters’ RBI single.

The Orioles fall to 78-62 overall, 39-32 at home, 32-24 against the AL East and 5-4 in September.

The Orioles are off Monday and then open a three-game series with Tampa Bay on Tuesday with Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.46 ERA) facing lefty Matt Moore (10-9, 3.66 ERA). The Orioles are 6-6 against the Rays and one game ahead of them for second place in the East.

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