NEW YORK (AP) — On the verge of assuring at least a tiebreaker for a playoff berth, the Baltimore Orioles stumbled.
Tyler Austin tied the score with a seventh-inning home run, Austin Romine and Brett Gardner drove in two runs each in the eighth and the New York Yankees rallied from a three-run deficit to beat the Orioles 7-3 Saturday.
Baltimore (88-73) and Toronto (87-73) lead for the AL’s two wild cards, with Detroit (86-73) a half-game behind the Blue Jays and Seattle (86-74) a half-game back of the Tigers. The Blue Jays, Tigers and Mariners all played Saturday night, and because the Blue Jays beat Baltimore 10-9 in the season series, the Orioles may have cost themselves their chance to host the wild-card game.
With the score 3-all against the already-eliminated Yankees, All-Star setup man Brad Brach relieved with one out in the eighth and walked pinch-hitter Jacoby Ellsbury. Chase Headley followed with his second double of the game, just past the glove of diving first baseman Chris Davis and down the right-field line.
Romine singled to left over the drawn-in infield. Third base coach Joe Espada gave Headley a stop sign, but Headley kept going and made contact with third base umpire Jim Reynolds, who signaled Headley should be allowed to score as Nolan Reimold’s throw bounced off line.
Brach walked Ronald Torreyes with two outs, Oliver Drake relieved and Gardner doubled to left. Brach was charged with a season-high four runs.
Tyler Clippard (2-3) pitched a perfect eighth, and Dellin Betances struck out the side after an infield hit in the ninth. The Yankees stopped the Orioles’ three-game winning streak and sent them to their second loss in eight games.
Mark Trumbo had four hits for Baltimore, which built a 3-0 lead against Luis Severino on Michael Bourn’s two-run single in the second and Manny Machado’s 37th home run. Machado’s third-inning, opposite-field drive to right ended an 0-for-17 slide.
Austin sparked the comeback against tiring Wade Miley with an RBI single in the fifth and a home run in the seventh around Headley’s run-scoring double in the sixth.
Coming off an 11-strikeout win over Arizona, Miley fanned nine, walked one and allowed nine hits in six-plus innings.
Starting after the Yankees decided to skip Masahiro Tanaka’s final turn, Severino allowed three runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings. The 22-year-old right-hander was demoted to the minors three times this year and finished with a 5.83 ERA after going 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA as a rookie.
New York wants him to develop a changeup to go with his 97 mph fastball and slider. Because he doesn’t have a consistent third pitch, the Yankees could shift him to the bullpen.
“I think it’s a topic of discussion for the winter,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before the game. “I think what you try to do next spring is you take the 12 best pitchers when you leave camp.”
Playing his next-to-last game before retirement, Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira went 1 for 2 and left for a pinch runner after his fifth-inning single.
HERE COMES THE JUDGE
RF Aaron Judge, sidelined since a season-ending oblique strain, was back in the clubhouse. He hit .179 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 27 games after his Aug 13 call-up, striking out 42 times in 84 at-bats.
“The strikeouts are a concern,” Girardi said. “When he hits it, there’s a real good chance he’s going to hit it hard, and he’s going to have misses that go out of the ballpark, that’s the bottom line, because he’s so big and strong.”
New York is nearing its first season without having any complete games from its starting pitchers. The Yankees had one each in 2004, 2007 and 2009. Miami, Milwaukee and Toronto also had no complete games going into Saturday.
On the 55th anniversary of Roger Maris’ 61st home run, son Kevin Maris threw out the ceremonial first pitch, flanked by brothers Randy, Rich and Roger Jr.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter talked about how his wife had bought a pair of miniature donkeys.
“She says now she has three jackasses,” he cracked.
DOWN ON THE FARM
Alex Rodriguez met with players at the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa, Florida, and worked with SSs Jorge Mateo and Gleyber Torres, and 3Bs Miguel Andujar and Kyle Holder, then stayed in the dugout for the instructional league game against Baltimore.
RHP Kevin Gausman (8-12) is scheduled to start Sunday for Baltimore. RHP Luis Cessa (4-3) is slated to pitch for New York.
(Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)