NEW YORK (AP) — Doused for two days in the Bronx, the Yankees and Orioles headed down to Baltimore with a couple of things awaiting them.
One, a good night’s sleep.
Two, a 60 percent chance of rain.
Mark Reynolds hit a tiebreaking single in the 11th inning after striking out four times and the Orioles outlasted New York 5-4 on Wednesday in another soggy game between two sleep-deprived teams.
“It’s been a struggle for us all year. Any win down the stretch is kind of icing on the cake for us,” Reynolds said. “We’re going to try to go out and win every game down the stretch and make it tough on some of these teams trying to get to the playoffs.”
Less than 11 hours after the Yankees completed a rain-delayed victory, the teams were back at it. The showers returned, too, though the game started on time and was never interrupted other than when the grounds crew needed to apply diamond dust to dry a soaked infield.
Nolan Reimold hit a two-run homer off A.J. Burnett and the Orioles took advantage of four Yankees errors, two by fill-in shortstop Eduardo Nunez. Both teams looked sleepy and sluggish in a sloppy game — with good reason, too.
With few options for a makeup date, they waited out a rain delay of 4 hours, 3 minutes on Tuesday night to play a game that ended at 2:15 a.m. Yankees players rushed home while the Orioles zipped back to their hotel to get a few precious hours of shuteye before heading back to the ballpark Wednesday morning for the 1:05 p.m. start.
“We don’t have to worry about making up this game, and that’s a good thing,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. “But physically, it’s been a grind. There’s no doubt about it.”
The Yankees tried to extend this one even longer, putting runners at the corners with two outs in the bottom of the 11th.
Pinch-hitter Eric Chavez, batting for Nunez, hit a low, sharp liner toward the middle and shortstop Robert Andino went to the ground to knock it down. He shoveled to second to nip Curtis Granderson for the final out, ending the game after 4 hours, 23 minutes.
“So many good things today,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “Robby came out there and played as good a game at shortstop as you’ll ever see played in these conditions, too. I can’t tell you how tough that is out there.”
Pedro Strop (1-1) worked 1 1-3 scoreless innings and Jim Johnson got three outs for his third save.
The Orioles used eight pitchers, the Yankees six. The teams meet again in Baltimore on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. — weather permitting — for the makeup of an Aug. 27 rainout caused by Hurricane Irene.
“I think everybody’s going to sleep well on the train,” Showalter said.
Burnett, given a reprieve in New York’s six-man rotation after an effective start at Boston last week, allowed four runs in six-plus innings. Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run double and prized prospect Jesus Montero a two-run single off the right-field fence.
The AL East leaders, however, had their six-game winning streak snapped. Last-place Baltimore ended a four-game slide.
Burnett threw three wild pitches to raise his season total to 23, by far the most in the majors.
New York matched a season high for errors, and the last one was especially costly.
Nunez, starting in place of Derek Jeter, couldn’t handle a hot shot with one out in the 11th, allowing Matt Angle to reach safely. Angle stole second with two outs and Nick Markakis was intentionally walked before Reynolds delivered an RBI single off Hector Noesi (2-1).
“We gave them a lot of their runs today. That’s the bottom line, and that’s why we lost this game,” Girardi said. “Even when our regulars aren’t in there, our defense has been pretty good. Today it wasn’t. I don’t know if it was the conditions. I don’t know if was fatigue. I don’t know what it was, but it really cost us the game.”
Coming off the late night, both managers rested several regulars, and the makeshift lineups resembled a spring training game or Triple-A matchup. A trio of Yankees hitters wore numbers in the 60s, and neither team looked like a big league bunch as players battled wet, windy weather for the second day in a row.
Andino’s wind-blown popup in the third dropped behind the mound for a single, eluding Nunez. Burnett missed first base with his foot on a potential double play and a Bronx cheer went up when he and first baseman Brandon Laird finally converted a 3-1 putout after a couple of unsuccessful tries.
“Disgusting. As sloppy as it gets,” Rodriguez said, referring to the Yankees’ play. “You expect that with the tough conditions.”
With the game tied in the late innings, Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Vladimir Guerrero and Matt Wieters all came off the bench.
To mark the 10-year anniversary of 9-11, the Yankees held a pregame ceremony on the field that included former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The salute was held four days early at Yankee Stadium because the team will be in the middle of a 10-game, four-city road trip Sunday.
Only a few thousand fans were in the stands when this one began — what else? — in the rain. Many had umbrellas or ponchos, others took cover on the concourse.
It was the second unusually sparse crowd in a row at Yankee Stadium. Just 500 fans or so were left when Tuesday night’s game finally ended.
NOTES: Baltimore starter Zach Britton gave up four runs and five hits in five innings. … Angle’s bat slipped out of his hands in the second and helicoptered four rows up behind the Yankees dugout, hitting an empty seat before a fan grabbed it. … Orioles 3B Chris Davis struck out his first five times up. When he batted again in the 11th, fans chanted “We want six!” Davis grounded out to end the inning. … Both of Wednesday’s starting pitchers left the ballpark early Tuesday night to get some rest.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)