Yankees 13, Orioles 8
-- A loss that threatens to sink their season had already wiped out the appetite of the Baltimore pitcher who had started a long and miserable day for the Orioles with a short and ineffective outing. Bruce Chen could not swallow a plate of rice and beef moments after the game because he most certainly could not stomach Baltimore's 13-8 loss to the New York Yankees. At the table where the postgame food was placed, Miguel Tejada motioned his starting pitcher to join him in an adjoining seat.
"Eat, Chen," Tejada said. "Forget the world. This type of stuff happens."
Losses certainly happen, but rarely in this way.
It was a game that lasted an excruciating 4 hours 12 minutes yet seemed longer for the Orioles because of how it was lost. It was a game that may have wiped out the Baltimore bullpen for Tuesday because Manager Lee Mazzilli used all but one of his relievers. It was a game in which the closer threw more pitches (45) than the starter (43). It was a game in which Baltimore trailed by six runs after Chen lasted just 11/3 innings, then took the lead in the seventh only to give it back in the eighth. It was a game that may send the Orioles reeling into the all-star break.
Mazzilli sensed the loss had the potential to devastate his team, so the manager thanked his players for their effort in coming back in a game they trailed 6-0 after two innings.
Three relievers held the Yankees scoreless, but their best pitcher, B.J. Ryan, did not in the eighth. Ryan allowed five runs and three hits and took the loss.
"They didn't hit it hard," Ryan said. "They hit it hard enough."
Derek Jeter did not have one good swing against Ryan but sent a flare over the second baseman's head for a base hit. Alex Rodriguez weakly fouled off two pitches against Ryan but worked a walk with the bases loaded to tie the game. From there, the inning got worse for Baltimore. Bernie Williams's bloop hit gave the Yankees the lead. They added three more runs in the inning.
"It was the most unbelievable inning I've seen in my 12-year career," Orioles catcher Sal Fasano said. "I've never seen that many quails fall in one inning."
The rally started because Steve Kline could not retire the two batters he was brought in to face.
"He's got to get the job done," Mazzilli said. "Right now he's struggling with it."
Jason Giambi homered against Kline and then Ruben Sierra singled.
"I'm not pitching well right now," Kline said. "Everything I throw is getting hit." Kline's ERA, which had dipped below 4.00 two weeks ago, has risen to 5.93.
Showing no trust in former closer Jorge Julio, who warmed up in the bullpen, Mazzilli brought in Ryan with no outs in the eighth. Ryan pitched two innings only once this year and had never been asked to get a two-inning save.
"I'd put B.J. in that spot any day of the week," Mazzilli said. "There's no margin for error. You go with your best."
There is no margin for error these days for the Orioles, who are sinking in the American League East. In the distance ahead are the Boston Red Sox. Right behind are the Yankees, who are just 1 1/2 games out of second place.
It was pitching that sent the Orioles to the top of the standings. It is pitching that has sent them spiraling toward third place.
After Chen's 11/3-inning outing, no Baltimore starter has an ERA under 4.00. Two starters have ERAs more than 5.00. In the past two days, Chen and Sidney Ponson have allowed a combined 12 runs in 22/3 innings.
They are limping now, and not just Chen, who only minutes before the start of Monday's game hobbled from one side of the clubhouse to his locker. Chen did not blame his bad outing on his injured left toe, though Fasano said the left-hander was not mechanically sound. Chen's gait did not appear normal as he limped toward the food table.
"I was terrible today," Chen had told reporters moments prior. "I tried to make good pitches, but made bad pitches."
He took one look at the food, and then walked away.