BALTIMORE (AP) - Playing without several offensive stars, the New York Yankees have been winning by scratching out a few runs and getting solid pitching.
When the latter half of that combination fails, the Yankees are hard-pressed to stay competitive.
Such was the case Saturday night, when David Phelps yielded a career-high nine runs in an 11-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Phelps (5-5) was gone before the end of the third inning with New York trailing 9-0. The right-hander allowed nine hits and two walks in 2 1-3 innings, leaving the offensively challenged Yankees with too big a deficit to erase.
``I don't care what our offense is doing. If you give up nine runs, it's a big hole to dig yourself out of,' Phelps said. ``The last four or five games I've gotten good run support. It's frustrating to go out there and not give them a chance to do it.'
Playing for much of the season without Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira, New York began the day ranked 26th in batting average and 23rd in runs among the 30 major league teams. They got 11 hits against the Orioles, but left 10 on base.
``I thought we swung the bats pretty good tonight. Maybe that's a good sign,' manager Joe Girardi said. ``Maybe we're coming out of it a little bit. We hit a lot of balls hard tonight.'
Perhaps, but the Yankees have lost 12 of 17 to fall within four games of .500 (42-38) for the first time since April 26 (13-9). In addition, New York has dropped four straight in Baltimore during a single season for the first time since 1982.
``You just have to keep fighting,' said Robinson Cano, who had two hits. ``Hopefully, sooner or later, we'll turn it around and start winning games so we can get closer. We got beat tonight. It's not like we making errors. There was not much you could do.'
Chris Davis homered twice for the Orioles to raise his major-league leading total to 30. He hit a three-run drive in the first inning and added a two-run shot in the sixth, his third multihomer game of the season. The five RBIs gave him 79, second-most in the big leagues and just six short of his career high.
Davis is the first player in Orioles history to hit 30 home runs before the end of June. With one more long ball in the next 14 games, Davis will break the franchise record for home runs before the All-Star break, set in 1996 by Brady Anderson.
``You can't make mistakes,' Girardi said. ``We made two mistakes with two curveballs tonight. We left them up in the zone and he hit them both out. He's not hitting 1.000, but I will say he is having a tremendous year. You have to make your pitches.'
Ryan Flaherty also homered for the Orioles, who will seek to complete a three-game sweep on Sunday.
``They're a tough opponent and we get a chance to see them a bunch during the season, but we have a chance to go for the sweep,' Davis said. ``It would be huge for us.'
Zach Britton (2-2) limited the Yankees to one earned run over 5 2-3 innings.
After Britton worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first, Baltimore batted around in the bottom half. Singles by Manny Machado, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones produced a run before Davis got under a 2-1 pitch and sent it soaring into the bullpen area beyond the center-field wall for a 4-0 lead.
The Orioles added five runs in the third. Two walks and a single loaded the bases for Chris Dickerson, who singled in two runs. Flaherty followed with a three-run shot to chase Phelps, who was replaced by Ivan Nova.
``I think it was the second big inning that makes it tough,' Girardi said.
New York chased Britton in the sixth. After Zoilo Almonte hit a sacrifice fly, another run scored when Davis booted Lyle Overbay's two-out grounder to first. With the bases loaded, Jair Jurrjens came in and retired Austin Romine on a fly ball.
Davis homered off Nova in the bottom half after a single by Markakis. Successive doubles by Chris Stewart and Brett Garner off Pedro Strop made it 11-3 in the ninth.
NOTES: Brian Roberts (hip, knee) is scheduled to return from the DL and start at 2B for Baltimore on Sunday. The 35-year-old last played on April 4. ... Hiroki Kuroda takes the mound for New York on Sunday. Chris Tillman seeks his career-high 10th win for Baltimore. ... Nova is going to be part of the Yankees' six-man rotation heading into the All-Star break, and he could start in the upcoming series against Minnesota, manager Joe Girardi said. ... The Orioles recalled Jurrjens before the game and designated 1B Travis Ishikawa for assignment. ... The only starter in the Baltimore lineup without a hit was Nate McLouth, who went 0 for 5.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved