NEW YORK—A painful weekend in the Bronx ended with the Orioles going in order against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman.
In four games covering 33 innings, the Orioles scored just three runs and were swept by New York. After closing to within a half-game of the Yankees, the Orioles now trail them by 5 ½ games with two weeks left in the season.
On the six-game trip to New York, they won their first game against the Mets, lost the second after building a 5-1 lead and were inept on offense against the Yankees, extending their losing streak to five.
The Orioles are a season-high six games under .500, 20-26, with 14 games to play after their 3-1 loss to the Yankees on Sunday.
“We just had a tough time scoring runs this whole series,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We just had a tough time stringing hits together, and one run again today, and you’re not going to win games against the New York Yankees scoring one run.”
Orioles reliever Dillon Tate retired his first five batters, then allowed a single to Aaron Hicks with two outs in the eighth. Clint Frazier’s hard grounder to first baseman Renato Núñez was booted and, when he finally picked it up, Tate wasn’t on first base, and Frazier was safe.
“I want to make that play, of course, to get out of the inning,” Núñez said. “We were not able to do it, and they scored two runs, and we lose the game.”
Tanner Scott relieved Tate, and Gleyber Torres’ pinch-hit double scored Hicks and Frazier to break a 1-1 tie and give the Yankees their margin of victory, 3-1.
“We’re going to trust our guy,” Hyde said. “Tanner’s 97-99. That’s not an easy at-bat coming off the bench. He left one out over the plate. It should have never got to that. The play before that, when you extend innings, that’s what happens against good teams.”
Zack Britton pitched a spotless eighth for the win, and Chapman retired Pedro Severino, Núñez and DJ Stewart for the save.
Núñez broke a 2-for-22 slump with a home run to right leading off the second inning against J.A Happ. It was his 11th of the year. He singled with two outs and Severino on first in the sixth, the last Orioles’ baserunner.
“We came here and we cannot play good games, and we lose at the end,” Núñez said. “It kind of sucks, but that’s the game. Somebody has to lose. We lose today, and we come back stronger tomorrow, and hope that we win.”
Tyler Wade’s home run in the third tied the score at 1.
The Orioles had a chance in the fifth when Pat Valaika doubled. He moved to third on Rio Ruiz’s single. With Cedric Mullins at bat, Valaika ran on contact on a grounder to third, and he was thrown out in a rundown.
“You are trying to stay out of a double play,” Hyde said. “You’re trying to stay in the rundown and be second and third or at least, first and third. With Cedric up, with two strikes, they were playing in there. That was unfortunate.”
Hanser Alberto followed and Hyde played hit-and-run, but Alberto struck out and Ruiz was out trying to steal third.
“If I’m ever going to run 3-2, first and second, it’s going to be Hanser Alberto hitting with a left-hander on the mound,” Hyde said. “I would say about 99 perent of the time he’s going to make contact, especially against J.A. Happ, a contact-type guy, and it just didn’t happen.”
Means’ day: Starter John Means allowed Wade’s homer. He threw six innings, allowed five hits, walked one and struck out four in throwing 96 pitches.
“I didn’t have my best stuff,” Means said. “I thought I made pitches when I needed to.”
It was Means’ second straight strong outing. Means allowed one run on three hits in six innings against the New York Mets on Tuesday.
“I’d compare the two,” Means said. “I’m starting to feel more like myself.”
Before the start against the Mets, Means had an 8.10 ERA, and it’s fallen to 5.63.
Hays’ return: Hyde said that centerfielder Austin Hays, who has been on the 10-day injured list since August 15th because of a fractured rib, should return “in the next couple of days.”
When Hays returns, he and Mullins will both play center field, Hyde said.
“I think we’re going to rotate and match up,” Hyde said. “Both guys will see center field time still, and I plan on playing all those guys. That’s definitely not a problem. That’s a positive thing, getting Austin back, looking forward to watching him play the next couple of weeks. I’m going to mix and match, and all those guys will still play.”
Tuesday’s game: Hyde hasn’t announced his Tuesday starter against Atlanta. He has said it won’t be Keegan Akin, who threw 39 pitches on Friday night, and also has ruled out César Valdez, who pitched three scoreless innings on Saturday.
“Valdez is so valuable,” Hyde said. “He can pitch in the third. He can pitch in the seventh. He can pitch in the ninth. He can do a lot of things. He’s been a great story.”
Jorge López will start against Atlanta’s Touki Toussant on Monday night. Akin will pitch against Cole Hamels on Wednesday.