Bullpen collapse pivotal in Yankees' 3-1 loss to Orioles
BALTIMORE (AP) Throughout this very trying season for the New York Yankees, manager Joe Girardi could at least count on the back end of his bullpen to be consistent.
Well, at least until Sunday.
Aroldis Chapman blew his first save opportunity as a Yankee after Dellin Betances got himself in a jam, and New York lost 3-1 to the Baltimore Orioles in a game that turned after a lengthy rain delay.
Trailing 1-0 in the eighth, Baltimore got runners to first and second with one out against Betances (2-4) when play was halted by heavy downpour. After a delay of 1 hour, 37 minutes, Chapman entered seeking to earn his 10th save in 10 tries.
The hard-throwing closer struck out Jonathan Schoop before Fernando Pena singled to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Matt Wieters then fell behind 0-2 before bouncing a 101 mph fastball up the middle, and a third run scored on the play when center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury threw wild to the plate.
Baltimore's comeback ruined a decent outing by New York starter CC Sabathia, who allowed two hits and a career-high tying six walks over 5 1/3 shutout innings. Kirby Yates and Betances followed before Chapman entered.
New York fell to 25-1 when leading after seven innings.
''They're not going to be perfect. They're going to be really, really good,'' Girardi said of the bullpen trio of Betances, Andrew Miller and Chapman.
Chapman had been flawless in save situations until this one.
''It's tough for Chappie to have to come back out after an hour-and-a-half delay,'' Girardi said. ''He got the count where he wanted. Just didn't get the ball where he wanted.''
The Yankees' lone run came in the third inning on an RBI single by Alex Rodriguez. They stranded 10 and went 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
''We had a lot of opportunities but weren't able to get the big hit,'' Girardi lamented. ''They got the big hit at the end and that's why we lost.''
New York dropped two of three to the Orioles to complete a 10-game swing through Tampa Bay, Toronto, Detroit and Baltimore with a 4-6 record.
T.J. McFarland (1-1) pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Kevin Gausman and Zach Britton got three straight outs for his 17th save.
Until the eighth inning, the Yankees stymied a team that scored 37 runs and hit 11 homers in its previous four games.
Miller was unavailable because he pitched two innings on Saturday, so Girardi did what he could with his shortened staff.
''CC did his job. We knew we had to get a lot of outs out of Chappie today,'' the manager said. ''It's a tough loss.
Gausman gave up one run and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander owns a decent 3.52 ERA but is winless in nine starts.
Sabathia kept the 1-0 lead intact in the bottom of the third by using three pitches to strike out Mark Trumbo with the bases loaded and two outs.
Gausman returned the favor in the fourth, striking out Ellsbury after New York filled the bases with two outs.
In the fifth, Trumbo again came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. As before, Sabathia struck him out on three pitches.
''I was just battling,'' Sabathia said. ''I was just trying to do whatever I could to keep us with that one-run lead.''
In the seventh, Betances struck out Manny Machado with two outs and a runner on third.
Yankees: Brian McCann was back behind the plate after missing three starts with a hyperextended elbow. He entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning Saturday for Austin Romine, who tore the nail off his thumb. Romine said Sunday he was sore but ''good to go.''
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (left foot fracture) threw from 90 feet on Saturday, his first baseball-related activity since going on the DL on May 3. … C Caleb Joseph (testicular injury) dropped by the clubhouse for the first time since his injury May 30.
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (3-1, 2.78 ERA) starts Monday night in the opener of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium.
Orioles: Baltimore concludes its 10-game homestand with a three-game set against the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals.