BALTIMORE — In a season in which the Yankees have spent many more days under .500 than over it, it’s difficult to target one loss as most disheartening.
Still, Friday night put itself firmly in the mix.
The Yankees got a rare power display from the offense, hitting three home runs in a game for the first time in nearly a month, but two of their most reliable arms failed in a 6-5 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards. “Losing’s tough to deal with no matter how you do it,” Joe Girardi said.
First, Nathan Eovaldi, with an assist from Kirby Yates, failed to hold a 5-2 lead. Then losing pitcher Dellin Betances allowed a run for a third straight outing as the Orioles took the lead for good in the seventh. “You have to give them the credit, but I’m sure I’ll get a streak going where things are going to be going my way,” Betances said.
The Yankees (25-29), who got homers from Carlos Beltran, Alex Rodriguez and Austin Romine, fell seven games back in the AL East at the official one-third point of the season. “We’re going to have to play a lot better the next two-thirds [of the season] if we’re going to get where we want to get,” Girardi said.
The Yankees also lost first baseman Mark Teixeira for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time. He left in the third inning after his right knee “locked up,” in Girardi’s words, and was sent for an MRI. The results were not immediately known.
Eovaldi, who came in 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA in his previous seven starts, allowed eight hits in 5 1⁄3 innings and was charged with five runs.
He took the mound in the bottom of the sixth with a 5-2 lead, but Hyun Soo Kim (three hits) led off with a single, Chris Davis drew a one-out walk and Mark Trumbo dumped a single to left to load the bases. Matt Wieters slashed a two-run single down the leftfield line to bring the Orioles (31-22) within 5-4.
“We had the lead,’’ said Eovaldi, especially displeased with his splitter and slider. “It’s just frustrating when you give it up in that situation.”
Yates came in and struck out Pedro Alvarez but allowed a first-pitch double to left by Jonathan Schoop that tied it at 5.
Adam Jones led off the seventh against Betances with a single and went to third on Kim’s single to right-center. With the infield in, Manny Machado hit a trickler up the third-base line, and the 5-3 putout made it 6-5.
Baltimore righty Chris Tillman, who entered the game 6-0 with a 2.33 ERA in his last seven starts, allowed five runs and eight hits in 5 2⁄3 innings.
In the fourth, Tillman walked Brett Gardner and gave up Beltran’s 13th homer, which made it 2-1. A-Rod followed by punching a 3-and-1 fastball over the scoreboard in right for his seventh homer of the season and 694th of his career.
In the bottom of the inning, Davis hit his 11th homer to cut the Yankees’ lead to 3-2. But Romine lined a drive over the leftfield fence in the fifth to restore the two-run lead.
Didi Gregorius doubled with two outs in the sixth and scored on Headley’s single to make it 5-2 and drive Tillman from the game. But it unraveled, quickly, from there.
“Our goal is to win every series,” said Gardner, whose first-inning single snapped a 0-for-24 skid. “And it’s getting to the point now where we can’t afford to lose many more.”