Rapid Reaction: Orioles 5, Yankees 2

May, 15, 2012
5/15/12
9:50
PM ET


What it means: That the official Rafael Soriano as Closer Era will have to wait another day to begin. At least. The Yankees went down 5-2 to a good young pitcher and a hungry young ballclub, and the Orioles remain atop the American League East by 1 1/2 games. The Yankees had a great opportunity in the eighth, with two men on and none out, but Nick Swisher grounded into a forceout, and Robinson Cano, who did not have his best game of the season, hit a comebacker that became a back-breaking double play.

So-So Sabathia: CC Sabathia had gone eight innings in each of his previous four starts, but on a night when his team needed eight more, CC could give only six, getting hit hard although limiting the damage to four runs. Still, he was outpitched and suffered just his third loss to the Orioles and second at Camden in 19 career decisions.

Chen on: Wei-Yin Chen, the Orioles' 26-year-old Taiwanese-born starter, showed no fear of the Yankees' lineup, limiting it to two singles through the first six innings and at one point setting down 10 in a row. He was pretty much untouched until Curtis Granderson's home run, with the aid of a fan in the left-field seats (see below), put the Yankees on the board in the seventh. In Chen's previous outing, he had pitched into the eighth inning against Texas and held the Rangers to one earned run. Tuesday night: seven innings, four hits, two runs. He looks like the real deal.

Baker's dozen: Granderson's seventh-inning home run was his 13th of the season, a number he reached on this date a year ago.

Who you calling a personal catcher? Chris Stewart, who is NOT Sabathia's personal catcher (although he seems to play only when CC pitches) committed two passed balls, the second of which allowed the fifth run to score with Freddy Garcia pitching. Safe to say he won't be Garcia's personal catcher, either.

Robb-E? No! J.J. Hardy's bases-loaded grounder, hit right at but booted by Cano with two out in the sixth, was somehow scored an infield hit and an RBI for Hardy, scoring the Orioles' fourth run of the game. Derek Jeter was partially at fault for the run scoring -- he apparently assumed Cano had made a clean pick and was slow coming over to cover second for the inning-ending force -- but if Cano makes the play, it's an easy out and the game remains 3-0.

Robbie's revenge: Immediately after his Error That Wasn't, Cano led off the seventh with a double into the LF corner, the hardest hit ball off Chen all night until Granderson's home run.

Buck's no-Show: Granderson's home run appeared to be clearly helped over the wall by a fan in a Yankees jacket who reached over with a glove -- and, incidentally, muffed the catch. Otherwise, it looked as if Xavier Avery had a good shot at catching it. But no protest from O's manager Buck Showalter, and no review by the umpires.

Steady Freddy: Making his first appearance in 10 days, Garcia pitched the seventh and eighth, striking out three and allowing just one hit, but got charged with a run because of Stewart's second passed ball.

What's coming: A column on the Yankees' accidental closer, Rafael Soriano, the most important Yankee who did not get into Tuesday night's game. Plus, postgame blog bites from the clubhouse.

Tomorrow: Overnight flight to Toronto for the start of a two-game series against the Blue Jays. Hiroki Kuroda (3-4, 3.56 ERA) versus RHP Kyle Drabek (2-4, 3.66), first pitch at 7:07 p.m. ET, and the incomparable Andrew Marchand will be there to translate it all for you.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146