This series ended the same way it started: the Yankees blowing a late lead after taking one in the top half of the inning. This time, it was David Robertson on the mound with a chance to close out a win. But with Robertson pitching for the third straight day, it wasn't meant to be. Kelly Johnson, of all people, got a walk-off hit as the Orioles won 3-2.
The Yankees got a bit of offense going early in the second inning. After the top of the lineup went down in order in the first, Martin Prado led off the second with a home run. The Yankees then threatened to add more when Brian McCann doubled and Mark Teixeira singled. However, the offense took us back to out comfort zone as Chris Young, Stephen Drew and Antoan Richardson went down in order to keep the lead at just one run.
Kuroda kept the Orioles off the board for quite a while after that, but while that was happening, the Yankees were failing to get any more offense going. And shockingly, one run wouldn't be enough because in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Orioles were able to get a rally going. With one out in the inning, Alejandro De Aza singled. Adam Jones then hit one towards Prado at third. Prado had to jump to get it and did manage to get a glove on it. But he couldn't catch it and was deflected it into foul territory. That allowed Jones to go to second and De Aza to come all the way around and score the tying run. After Nelson Cruz grounded out, Steve Pearce reached on a single after Drew made a nice play to keep the ball in the infield to save a run. Kuroda would get J.J. Hardy to pop up to end the inning, keeping the game tied at one.
That would be the only flaw in Kuroda's outing. After another scoreless inning in the seventh, his day would be done. He went seven innings, allowing one run on six hits and no walks, while striking out five. But as it seems to always happen, the Yankees' offense failed him and the game was still tied after seven innings.
Dellin Betances came in and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning. In the process, he struck out two and tied Mariano Rivera for the single season record for strikeouts by a Yankee reliever.
The phrase "the heart of the order is due up" hasn't meant much for the Yankees this season. But in the top of the ninth, it did. After Prado struck out, McCann came to the plate. McCann made good contact on a ball that flew towards the wall in right. With the way right fielder Nick Markakis was playing it, it looked like he might have a read on the ball. But it kept carrying and the ball eventually went over the right field wall for a home run. Suddenly, the Yankees were back in front 2-1. After the Yankees couldn't add any insurance runs, it was time for Robertson.
The ninth inning got off to a poor start when Nelson Cruz led off the inning with a double. It then got worse when Steve Pearce doubled to score Cruz. Just like that, the game was tied again. Hardy then flew out to right, but Ichiro Suzuki, who had come in off the bench, kept Pearce at second with a strong throw. It wouldn't matter though as Kelly Johnson would hit a single on the very next pitch. Pearce scored and the Yankees lost 3-2.
The Yankees will now head to Florida to take on the Rays in a series starting tomorrow. The starters for Monday's game will be Chris Capuano and Alex Colome.