The Orioles’ losing streak reached six games tonight and each loss seems more gut-wrenching than the last.
Tonight the Orioles came back to gain a 4-3 lead and took that edge to the ninth only to see closer Jim Johnson suffer a third straight blown save as the Yankees tied it then and won it 6-4 in 10 innings.
Travis Hafner’s one-out solo homer off Johnson in the ninth made it a 4-4 game. Hafner had just three hits over his past 24 at-bats and was hitting only .147 in May when he launched one out to left.
According to a stat from CBSsports.com, the only other pitcher in O’s history with blown saves in three straight games was Tippy Martinez, who did it twice, once in 1982 and 1983. Over his last three games, Johnson has allowed nine hits and eight runs over 2 1/3 innings.
Mariano Rivera got the save for New York in the 10th. He is 17-for-17 this year and this was his 75th career save against the Orioles.
In the top of the 10th an RBI double by Vernon Wells off Pedro Strop gave New York the lead and Hafner added an RBI single off Brian Matusz as the first place Yankees improved to 28-16, winning for the 10th time in the last 13 games.
CC Sabathia entered his start tonight with a career record of 17-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 26 starts against the Orioles. Freddy Garcia entered his outing having allowed eight runs over his last two starts in 9 2/3 innings. It didn’t appear that Garcia would allow half as many runs as the lefty, but he did.
Sabathia gave up 11 hits and four runs (all earned) over 6 1/3 innings. The O’s 11 hits and six extra-base hits off Sabathia match his most allowed in a start vs. Baltimore. He gave up 11 hits on 4/28/10 and six EBHs on 9/8/12.
Garcia, after a shaky start, gave up three hits and two runs with two walks and two strikeouts over six innings and 66 pitches.
Solo homers by Robinson Cano and David Adams (his first in the majors) in the first two innings put New York up 2-0 but Chris Davis launched one out to left center in the last of the second to pull the O’s within 2-1. It was his 13th homer.
A Nick Markakis RBI single in the fifth scored Steve Pearce, who had doubled for a 2-2 tie. But New York moved back ahead 3-2 in the seventh when Lyle Overbay homered off Troy Patton.
That set the stage for the last of the seventh. Alexi Casilla led off with a single and a Markakis RBI double scored him for a 3-3 tie. Two batters later J.J Hardy dropped an RBI double into right field to give the Orioles their first lead of the game.
The Orioles were closing in tonight on an impressive comeback win and handing Sabathia a loss to end their losing streak. But for the third time this homestand, the Orioles usually reliable closer could not hold a lead and the Orioles will come back tomorrow to try and end this losing streak then.