Despite losing 80 percent of their rotation, despite injuries to everyday players, despite a mostly popgun offense, the Yankees came here with an opportunity: Three games vs. the AL East-leading Orioles before the All-Star break.
"These are extremely important games,'' Joe Girardi said before Friday night's game. "We need to make up ground.''
Instead, in the first game of the series, they lost ground in crushing fashion. Nick Hundley's one-out single in the 10th inning gave the Orioles a 3-2 walk-off win in front of a sellout crowd of 45,389 at Camden Yards.
"They're all hard," Girardi said of the loss. "You're playing the Baltimore Orioles, who are in first place. You don't want to lose a game like that."
Adam Warren (1-5) took the loss for the Yankees (46-46), who started this 11-game trip by winning three of four but have lost 13 of 20 overall and trail the Orioles (51-41) by five games.
"We need to play well these last two games," Derek Jeter said. "We were playing well, but when you're playing a good team like this, you have to play your best."
Manny Machado opened the 10th by slicing Warren's 1-and-0 fastball into the rightfield corner for a double. Ryan Flaherty struck out but Hundley, the No. 9 hitter, lined a single to center on a 2-and-2 slider to win it. "I think I was trying to overthrow it," Warren said. "I just left it up."
It was only the fifth hit of the night for the Orioles, who had fallen behind 2-0 on home runs by Brian Roberts in the second and Kelly Johnson in the third.
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda allowed two runs, three hits and no walks in seven innings, although he hit two batters and threw two of his three wild pitches in the Orioles' two-run fourth. Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez gave up two runs, six hits and no walks in eight innings.
Brian McCann led off the top of the fourth with a single and, one out later, Ichiro Suzuki hit his second double of the night, a shot into the gap in right-center. McCann, not the swiftest of runners, was not able to score, which proved costly. Yangervis Solarte flied out to short center and Johnson flied to left.
The Orioles quickly drew even. After Kuroda grazed Steve Pearce's jersey with a pitch, Adam Jones sent a chopper up the middle. Jeter got in position to field it but the ball hit off his glove and deflected into the outfield. Pearce took third on the play, which inexplicably was scored a hit. "It bounced higher than I thought, plus I also took a peek at the runner, so that's a bad combination," Jeter said. "That's a play that needs to be made. Playing a team like Baltimore, you can't give them extra outs."
Kuroda then threw a wild pitch that made it 2-1 and moved Jones to second. Nelson Cruz struck out, but Jones went to third on another wild pitch and scored on Chris Davis' sacrifice fly to left, tying it at 2-2.
McCann led off the top of the ninth with a single off lefty Zach Britton and Girardi inserted Francisco Cervelli to pinch run. Roberts pushed a bunt toward first and Davis made the gutsy decision to try for the lead runner, nipping Cervelli by inches at second. Solarte drew a two-out walk but pinch hitter Zelous Wheeler bounced out to end the inning.
"Chris made a great play," Roberts said. "Both guys [Kuroda and Gonzalez] threw great. It came down to a battle of the bullpens and they got the big hit and we didn't."