Hiroki Kuroda cruised through most of this game and when he left the mound after the seventh inning, the Yankees were in front. Barely. The Yankees' offensive struggles came back to haunt them again when Mariano Rivera couldn't nail down a win for Kuroda, and the Orioles came away with a 2-1 win.
Kuroda went seven innings, allowing just three hits and one walk, while striking out four. The Yankees didn't fair much better against Orioles' starter Jason Hammel, though, which ended up being a major problem.
The Yankees scored their run in the bottom of the second inning. Zoilo Almonte led off the inning, and faced off in an 11 pitch at bat against Hammel. On the 11th pitch, Almonte drew ball four and walked. Lyle Overbay came up next and singled, moving Almonte to third. Luis Cruz flied out to Nick Markakis in right, but it wasn't deep enough to score Almonte. Eduardo Nunez's fly out was deep enough, however. Almonte tagged up and scored, and the Yankees took a 1-0 lead.
After that run, the Yankees' offense went to sleep. They put runners on several times but they couldn't bring another run across. But while that was happening, Hiroki Kuroda was completely shutting down the Orioles. The closest the Orioles came to scoring against Kuroda was in the fourth inning. Markakis led off with a double. After he couldn't move up on Adam Jones' ground out, he did move up on Chris Davis' ground out. But he would be left there at third when Matt Wieters grounded out to end the inning. A second inning double by Wieters was the only other time a Oriole made it to second base against Hirok.
Kuroda's day was over when David Robertson came in to pitch the eighth inning. Robertson pitched an easy 1-2-3 inning, and after another scoreless inning by the Yankee offense, Mo came in for the ninth.
Manny Machado led off the bottom of the ninth against Mariano Rivera. Machado grounded out on the fourth pitch of the at bat for the first out. Nick Markakis came up next. He very nearly hit a game tying home run, but his shot into the right field seats went just foul. Markakis did end up lining a single up the middle. Adam Jones came to the plate next. As it turns out, it would've been better if Markakis' shot had gone out as Jones lined one over the left field wall for a home run of his own, giving the Orioles a 2-1 lead. Mo struck out Chris Davis, but gave up another hit to Wieters, who hit a ground rule double. After intentionally walking J.J. Hardy, Rivera got Chris Dickerson to ground out to end the inning. It looked like Mo just didn't have it today. The Yankees found themselves in another hole and would need another comeback to complete the sweep.
The bottom of the Yankees' order was due up to face Jim Johnson in the ninth inning. Overbay led off the inning but could only strike out on four pitches. Cruz's fate was the same, which left the game up to Nunez. He had driven in the previous Yankee run, but Nunez grounded out to end the game this time around. What looked like a win for most of the game ended up as a 2-1 loss.
The Yankees will hope to rebound from this loss when the Royals come to the Bronx for a four game series starting tomorrow. First pitch is at 7:05 eastern and Phil Hughes will take the mound for the Yankees.