BALTIMORE (CBSNewYork/AP) — Maybe Yankees manager Joe Girardi got lucky with his 26th career ejection: He didn’t have to watch from the dugout as New York blew a late lead in a painful defeat.
Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones homered in a four-run eighth inning that carried the AL East-leading Orioles to a 5-3 win Wednesday night.
It was the fourth straight loss for the Yankees, who fell eight games out in the division with 43 to play. At this juncture, winning the AL East just might be too formidable a task.
“I think we’re looking more at the second wild-card spot. That’s a little bit better number, it’s a little more achievable at this point,” said reliever Shawn Kelley, who gave up Jones’ game-winning shot.
Girardi missed the finish after being ejected in the seventh inning by home plate umpire Gerry Davis. Girardi was furious after Davis called New York’s Stephen Drew out for running in the baseline on his way to first base.
“Yeah, well, Gerry was wrong,” Girardi said.
Girardi’s second ejection of the year came with New York ahead 2-1 on the strength of Francisco Cervelli’s second home run of the year, a two-run drive in the third inning off Chris Tillman.
The lead didn’t stand up, and now the Yankees are scrambling to stay in the playoff hunt.
“We’ve got to start winning series again,” Girardi said. “We have not won the last two series and we put ourselves in a little bit of a hole.”
Cervelli said, “We can do it. This is not done yet.”
After Schoop tied it with a drive off Dellin Betances, Kelley (2-4) gave up a single and a walk before Jones hit a shot into the bullpen area beyond the center-field wall.
“We had a lead late, and that’s one thing we’ve done well as a whole as a bullpen,” Kelley said. “A lot of that’s on me tonight.”
Darren O’Day (4-1) worked the eighth and Zach Britton gave up a run in the ninth en route to his 25th save.
It was the eighth straight series win for Orioles, who are 8-3 against New York this season.
“It’s tough right now because they are hitting very good,” Cervelli said. “They’ve got a couple of hitters who are really hot right now.”
Making his first appearance in the big leagues since April 23, New York starter Michael Pineda retired the first 12 batters he faced before Nelson Cruz doubled to open the fifth.
“We thought he started getting the ball up a little bit,” Girardi said.
Pineda allowed one run and two hits over five innings. After being suspended for 10 games for using a foreign substance on the mound in April, the right-hander went on the disabled list with a shoulder muscle injury. He left after throwing 67 pitches.
“I’m feeling good,” Pineda said. “I feel like I want to pitch more, but it’s my first start.”
Baltimore played without its two starters on the left side of the infield. Third baseman Manny Machado was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right knee ligament and shortstop J.J. Hardy missed a third straight game with a sprained left thumb.
Tillman gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings.
Yankees: After throwing fastballs off flat ground, RHP Masahiro Tanaka (elbow inflammation) said through an interpreter, “I feel good because everything is progressing in the way that I want it to.” Girardi said, “Our hope is he’ll pitch in September.”
Orioles: Machado said his injury is “not as bad as we thought.” Hardy hopes to return for the weekend series in Cleveland.
Yankees: After taking Thursday off, the Yankees open a three-game series in Tampa Bay. Girardi has opted to start Hiroki Kuroda on Sunday instead of Chris Capuano.
Orioles: Baltimore gets a day off before facing the Indians to launch a nine-game road trip that includes a week’s stay in Chicago, where the Orioles will face the White Sox and Cubs.
BEAST IN THE EAST
The Orioles are 30-19 against AL East foes, the best in-division record in the AL. New York is 21-25 in the division, which goes a long way toward explaining its deficit in the East.
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