A rotation in need of some positive vibes got some Tuesday night.
The bats and bullpen were another matter.
Masahiro Tanaka looked very much like his dominant pre-injury 2014 self but the Yankees, who earlier in the day disclosed Nathan Eovaldi very well could be lost for the season, failed to get much going offensively in a 2-1 loss to the Orioles in front of 30,785 at the Stadium.
Tanaka, up and down much of the season and with a 4.66 ERA his previous three starts, allowed one run and six hits in eight innings but his replacement, lefthander Chasen Shreve, surrendered a leadoff homer to Chris Davis (No. 41 for the rightfielder) in the ninth to sink the Bombers (77-60).
Zach Britton worked a scoreless ninth for his 31st save.
Shreve said that the homer came off a fastball up and away.
"He hits the low ball well. I was just trying to get back in the count," he said. "I didn't want to walk the guy, the first hitter of the inning. He ended up just connecting with it."
Tanaka, who lowered his ERA to 3.57, walked one and struck out 10, surpassing his season-high of nine.
The righthander, who didn't allow a hit until two outs in the fifth, allowed his only run in the sixth when Ryan Flaherty led off with his eighth homer of the season to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
"He was great tonight, manager Joe Girardi said of Tanaka. "You can't ask for anything more."
Alex Rodriguez tied it with a leadoff homer in the sixth, his 30th, driving a full-count 98-mph fastball off Orioles starter Kevin Gausman to left. It was the 40-year-old DH's fourth homer in five games and gave him 3,056 hits, sending him past Rickey Henderson into sole possession of 22nd place on the all-time list.
But that was all for the Yankees' offense, which went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven.
Brendan Ryan saved Tanaka in the seventh with one of several gems made by the Yankees' defense. Jimmy Paredes led off with an infield single and Jonathan Schoop hit a ground smash to the left side. But Ryan, getting the start at third for Chase Headley, made a diving stop to his right, starting a spectacular 5-4-3 double play. Matt Wieters followed with a double off the wall in left-center but Tanaka escaped, getting J.J. Hardy to ground to short.
Tanaka was perfect through four innings before walking Davis to lead off the fifth. He retired the next two batters, then watched Wieters end the no-hit bid by bouncing a ball to the right side that bounced off the glove of Didi Gregorius who, from his position in the shift near the second base bag, raced across the diamond but couldn't quite come up with it.
Gausman allowed two baserunners in the first, third and fifth innings but no runs. He allowed one run and six hits in five-plus innings.
Gardner still hurting. Brett Gardner sat a second straight game as he deals with a sore left shoulder, which occurred Saturday when he crashed into the wall in left making a catch.
"He got an injection for the shoulder prior to [Monday's] game just to calm it down," general manager Brian Cashman said. "He's available as a player if we so choose but when you do those [shots], you usually give them two days. He's available off the bench but he should be back in there tomorrow."
Gardner did not take BP Tuesday night and did not play.