BALTIMORE, JUNE 10 -- Jay Tibbs would like to keep going to the pitcher's mound every fifth day for the Baltimore Orioles, but he knows his performance today in a 5-2 loss to the New York Yankees at Memorial Stadium will guarantee him nothing but uncertainty.

The Yankees, who had been 0-4 since Stump Merrill replaced Bucky Dent as manager, ended an overall losing streak at eight and a road losing streak at 11. Tibbs allowed four runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Asked whether he is concerned about his status as a starter, Tibbs replied: "To be honest with you, yeah.

"I'm 2-7, and things are not going well for me. They might say I might need some time off. I don't want that. I still want to go back out there. . . . We'll see."

Tibbs was making only his second start since being away from the Orioles from May 25 to June 3 to be with his ill father, who died May 30. But pitching coach Al Jackson said Tibbs "didn't pitch as well today as he did" Tuesday in Milwaukee, when he made his first start in 11 days and departed after 3 1/3 innings after throwing 51 pitches and allowing two runs on four hits.

Tibbs was angry about being pulled from that game. Not so today. He retired seven of the first eight batters, but quickly was undone by bad fortune and bad play.

He left with his earned run average at 5.68, worst on the team by more than a run. And in his four starts since he defeated Oakland on May 13, he is 0-4 with a 7.41 ERA and 22 hits allowed in 17 innings.

"As long as they keep sending me out there, I'll keep battling," Tibbs said. "If you have any answers let me know."

Right-hander Ben McDonald is 2-2 with a 2.32 ERA in 31 innings for Class AAA Rochester. But his seven-inning stint Friday night was his longest of the season, and General Manager Roland Hemond said today: "We're trying to extend him. We want him to be a starter, not a six-inning pitcher."

John Mitchell, who with the Orioles this season, is 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA in 43 innings for Rochester. Brian Holton, Joe Price and recently recalled Jose Bautista also have been starters.

Manager Frank Robinson remained noncommittal: "Right now, I don't know. But I don't have to do anything right now. I have at least until Tuesday or Wednesday . . . when his {Tibbs's} next start comes along."

If he were to decide to remove Tibbs from the rotation, Robinson said, "Ben McDonald certainly will be given a lot of consideration. So will one or two other people in the organization. If we think it's just going to be a spot start, so will one or two people in the bullpen."

The Orioles won a season-best four straight and seven of eight to move into third place, four games behind first-place Boston.

Robinson said Tibbs's "inactivity has something to do with" today's loss before 47,611 -- the largest crowd at Memorial Stadium since the team's home opener. "He made some good pitches, but he didn't get good results, and he made some bad pitches."

That was in the third inning, when the Orioles could have been several runs ahead instead of clinging to a 1-0 lead.

Baltimore went after Jimmy Jones -- recalled Saturday from Class AAA Columbus to replace injured Mike Witt -- like the team that blitzed the Yankees on Saturday for six runs in the first inning and two in the second en route to a 10-1 victory. It didn't get the same results.

Phil Bradley walked, stole second and went to third when catcher Bob Geren's throw went into center field. Steve Finley singled to bring home Bradley and stole second before Cal Ripken -- who today tied Everett Scott for second place (at 1,307) on baseball's all-time list of consecutive games played -- flied out. Finley then stole third while Mickey Tettleton worked Jones for a walk.

But Joe Orsulak hit a slow roller to third and Finley was thrown out at home by third baseman Jim Leyritz. Randy Milligan grounded to second.

In the second, Chris Hoiles walked with one out and went to second when Bill Ripken singled on a high chopper in front of the plate. Bradley grounded into a double play.

"We let Jones off the hook," Robinson said. The Yankees were not as kind to Tibbs.

With one out in the third, Leyritz hit a fly to right-center that tailed away from center fielder Finley and went off his glove for a double.

Roberto Kelly singled to left, moving Leyritz to third. Steve Sax then chopped a grounder toward third. It would have been a difficult play for third baseman Worthington, but he never got the chance to find out. Tibbs tried to make the play and knocked the ball across the foul line. Leyritz scored and New York had runners on first and second.

Tibbs walked Don Mattingly on four pitches. He made it five consecutive balls before Mel Hall hit a slow roller up the middle. Second baseman Bill Ripken got the ball in front of the bag and tossed it Cal Ripken, whose relay to first was just late as Kelly scored to make it 2-1.

Jesse Barfield followed with a broken-bat double into the left field corner. Sax trotted in from third and Hall beat Cal Ripken's slow relay to the plate.

Robinson called for Brian Holton, who retired Claudell Washington and went on to allow one run on five hits in five innings.

The Orioles made it 5-2 in the sixth at the expense of Jeff Robinson, who replaced Jones at the start of the inning. But they left runners on second and third.