Orioles halt Yankees’ winning streak
Three straight one-run games in sweltering heat at Yankee Stadium, and the Baltimore Orioles had nothing to show for it.
That is, until Adam Jones stepped to the plate in the ninth inning.
Jones hit a two-run homer against Mariano Rivera, and the Orioles beat the Yankees 2-1 on Sunday to end New York’s longest winning streak of the season at six games.
”It’s off the greatest closer in the history of the game,” Jones said. ”I’ll always remember it.”
A healthy Hiroki Kuroda pitched seven innings of three-hit ball for the Yankees, unable to finish off a three-game sweep after Baltimore took all three games from them at Camden Yards last weekend.
David Robertson worked a 1-2-3 eighth and the 43-year-old Rivera (1-2) entered looking to reach 30 saves for the 15th time, which would break a tie with Trevor Hoffman for the major league record.
With one out, Nick Markakis made a bid for a tying homer but his drive hooked just wide of the right-field foul pole. Markakis then singled sharply to center for his third hit and Jones, elected to his first All-Star start on Saturday, drove an 0-1 pitch to left for his 16th home run.
”I wanted it to be more in. Didn’t get in enough,” Rivera said. ”It wasn’t really a mistake, just good hitting.”
It was Rivera’s second blown save in 31 chances during his farewell season. Baseball’s career saves leader, chosen for his 13th All-Star squad, had converted 41 tries in a row at home since his last failure on Sept. 26, 2010, against Boston.
”Whenever it happens you’re kind of shocked, that’s how good he is,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Darren O’Day (5-0) got two outs and Jim Johnson, who blew a save in the series opener Friday, struck out two in a perfect ninth for his major league-leading 30th save in 36 attempts.
Baltimore finished 2-4 on its road trip against the Chicago White Sox and Yankees.
”Obviously, that’s what you want. You want the ball as soon as possible. You want to try and redeem yourself and get back in a groove,” Johnson said. ”I felt like I was more aggressive with my fastball today and located it a little better.”
New York fell to 40-2 when leading after eight innings.
The only other home run Rivera allowed this season was to Tampa Bay slugger Evan Longoria on April 23. The last long ball he gave up at Yankee Stadium was to Russell Branyan of the Angels on Aug. 11, 2011.
”You don’t want to go out there and get swept, especially against the teams in your division in games you need to win,” Markakis said. ”The way Kuroda threw the ball and, like I said, the conditions, we’ll take it.”
Kuroda outpitched Jason Hammel on a day when the 92-degree temperature seemed to sap power from the bats on both sides – until Jones connected. During the game, the Yankees put an announcement on the big video board informing fans about several stations around the ballpark where they could cool off and get water.
Kuroda, beaten Sunday night at Baltimore in the series finale, skipped a turn because of a tweaked hip flexor. But the 38-year-old right-hander felt fine during his latest bullpen session and just ended up getting pushed back two days.
Helped by some solid defense, Kuroda struck out four and walked one while throwing 88 efficient pitches.
Hammel threw 69 of 102 pitches for strikes, but that only got him through five innings as the Yankees fouled off many of his best offerings. He is 0-3 in seven starts since beating Washington on May 27.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado made a jaw-dropping play to end the sixth, showing why he was selected to the All-Star team Saturday on his 21st birthday.
Machado knocked down Luis Cruz’s high bouncer with a backhand behind the bag, but the ball was rolling away from him when he picked it up with his bare hand. In one twisting motion that almost defied the physics of athletic momentum, he zinged a perfect throw across his body to first base – from deep in foul territory.
After he was called out, Cruz looked across the diamond in disbelief at Machado, who ended up near the dugout railing.
Eduardo Nunez hit a sacrifice fly for New York in the second.
”Hiroki pitched a tremendous game and we should’ve, should’ve won that game,” Rivera said. ”That would’ve been a great game to save.”
NOTES: RHP Scott Feldman makes his first home start for Baltimore on Monday night against his former team, the Texas Rangers. Acquired from the Cubs on Tuesday, Feldman pitched seven shutout innings of two-hit ball against Texas on May 6. … Orioles slugger Chris Davis said he would happily participate in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star game if asked. ”It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Davis said, adding he has no concerns about messing up his swing. ”I play home run derby every day in batting practice.” … Yankees SS Derek Jeter (ankle) was the DH in his second rehab game with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and went 1 for 2 with two walks and a run. … The Yankees hosted about 4,000 residents of Newtown, Conn., in an effort to help the community heal from the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December.