Bullpen Lets Hughes Down As O’s Edge Yankees

GAME 19
ORIOLES 5, YANKEES 4

By definition a bullpen is supposed to rescue the starter and ultimately save the game. That is why relievers have been likened to firemen.
But the New York Yankees bullpen, of late and on Tuesday night, has been overrun by too many incidents of arson.
And, so it was at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore as David Robertson —  in succession — gave up a game-tying hit to Rhyne Hughes, a go-ahead single to Nolan Reimold and a lead-padding base knock to Cesar Izturis as the Yankee reliever gift-wrapped and handed a 5-4 victory to the Orioles.
Left-hander Alberto Castillo (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless — now there is novel concept — relief to earn the victory. Robertson (0-1), who faced five batters and let four of them reach base, took his first loss of the season.
The Yankees season record dropped to 12-7 and they fell 2 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the A.L. East. The Orioles, who have spent most of this season quietly leaving for their clubhouse with their equipment after experiencing loss after loss, celebrated only their fourth victory in 20 games.
YANKEE POSITIVES

  • Though Phil Hughes did not have his best command (four walks), he pitched well enough to deserve a victory. He gave up one run on two hits and fanned two over 5 2/3 innings and left the game with a 2-1 lead.
  • Jorge Posada connected with an errant fastball from Kevin Millwood and blasted his fifth home run of the season to start the fourth inning. That gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
  • Brett Gardner drove in the Yankees first run in the third inning when third baseman Miguel Tejada misplayed his grounder and allowed Nick Swisher to score.
  • Robinson Cano continued his hot hitting with a 3-for-4 night, all singles. He raised his batting average to a sizzling .389.
  • Swisher also was 3-for-4 and scored two runs. He is hitting .364 on the current road trip.
  • The Yankees put together a nice rally against Orioles so-called “closer du jour” Alfredo Simon in the
    ninth. An Izturis error allowed Swisher to score a run and Mark Teixeira followed with an RBI single to score pinch-runner Ramiro Pena. However, Lugo was able to run out in shallow center to flag down a Rodriguez grounder and force Teixeira at second or Gardner would have scored the tying run.
THE NEGATIVES

  • Boone Logan, Alfredo Aceves and Robertson combined to give up four runs on five hits, two walks and a hit batter over 2 1/3 innings.
  • Robertson has been especially bad this season. In seven appearances, he has surrendered six runs on 10 hits and one walk in five innings of work. His season ERA is 10.80.
  • It was a bad night for Derek Jeter, Gardner, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson to go a combined 0-for-19. Jeter and Rodriguez left 10 men on base.
  • Hughes’ only sin was having trouble with the command of his pitches and it cost him in the second inning when he walked Izturis, a career .259 hitter, with the bases loaded on four pitches. Otherwise, Hughes pitched a determined game against a team that was hell-bent to run up his pitch count.
  • A pair of errors led to an unearned run to score in the bottom of the eighth inning. Jeter let a grounder play him and pinch-runner Julio Lugo scored the Orioles’ fifth run with the help of Jorge Posada’s inexplicable toss to second base on a steal attempt that landed in center field, allowing Lugo to take third base. He scored on a single by — you guessed it — Izturis, who drove in three runs on the night.

DIAMOND NOTES

Though he did not start for the third straight game, Nick Johnson did pinch-hit in the ninth inning and — surprise — he drew a walk. Johnson has been sidelined with stiffness in his lower back and he hopes to be able to start on Wednesday.  . . .  The primary name in ketchup, Curt Schilling, is branching out into commenting about things other than himself these days. In an appearance on ESPN Radio on Tuesday, Schilling criticized Javier Vazquez. He said, “I just don’t see him being a consistent winner in the American League.” Vazquez, who admittedly is struggling with a 1-3 record and an ERA of 9.00 in four starts, was 15-8 with a 3.74 ERA in 2007 for the Chicago White Sox. I think the last time I checked that is an American League team. For his part, Vazquez brushed it off. “I guess everybody is entitled to their opinion,” he said. Considering the source, Javier, you have nothing to sweat. Schilling also believes he belongs in the Hall of Fame with a meager 216 wins.  . . .  Chan Ho Park, in Florida trying to rehab his strained right hamstring, felt tightness as he threw off flat ground on Tuesday. This is another setback for the 38-year-old reliever. He will re-evaluated on Wednesday.  . . .  Robinson Cano entered play on Tuesday night with a .404 average against right-hand pitching, the highest mark in the major leagues. He raised it with three more hits off Oriole right-handers.
THE NEXT GAME

The Yankees will play the second game of this last road series of April with CC Sabathia (2-1, 3.00 ERA) on the mound. In his last start, Sabathia pitched eight innings in a losing effort against the Oakland A’s on April 22. Sabathia was 4-1 with a 2.88 ERA in five starts against the Orioles in 2009 and he’s 9-1 with a 2.55 ERA against the in 14 career starts.
The Orioles will counter with right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (0-2, 3.46 ERA), who gave up three runs on five hits and two walks over six innings in a no-decision against the Red Sox last Friday. In 12 games (11 starts), Guthrie is 3-6 with a 4.78 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.

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