BALTIMORE -- The New York Yankees have become a team that can't win for losing.
They lost out on a rare call at home plate in the seventh inning. They lost their manager in an argument with an umpire that he probably should have won. And they lost a game on a night they got yet another stellar starting pitching performance, this one by a pitcher (Michael Pineda) who had not appeared on a big league mound since April.
Once again, it was the bats and the bullpen that let the Yanks down. The former, of course, has been a nightly occurrence, but the latter is a more recent phenomenon. And now, following a crushing 5-3 loss to the powerful Baltimore Orioles, they limp down to St. Petersburg, Florida, eight games out of first place in the American League East and three games out of the second wild-card spot. They needed to win this series, but instead got swept. With just 43 games to go, things are looking pretty grim.
Kelley green: Two appearances removed from a four-run meltdown against the Cleveland Indians on Friday, Shawn Kelley faced five batters and allowed a single, a walk and a crushing three-run home run by Adam Jones on a grooved first-pitch slider, giving the Orioles the victory. Kelley's ERA is now up to 4.73.
Schoop it out: Baltimore second baseman Jonathan Schoop has developed into quite the Yankee-killer. He belted Dellin Betances' 0-1 hanging curve into the left-field seats with one out in the eighth to tie the game at 2. It was Schoop's fourth home run and 11th RBI against the Yanks this season; he has 11 homers and 35 RBIs overall.
Happy return: After a 113-day absence, Pineda threw an abbreviated gem -- 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K -- featuring plenty of strikes, 48 out of 67 pitches. He looked sharp on strikeouts of Jones and Nick Hundley on breaking balls, and his fastball had life to it. The Orioles' only run off him came on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Flaherty in the fifth inning. By just about any measure, it was a successful outing.
Dirty dozen: Pineda retired the first 12 Orioles he faced, four of them on strikes, and his fastball -- clocked as high as 95 miles per hour -- and slider looked every bit as filthy as they had the last time he pitched four months ago. Pineda's perfect game was broken up by Nelson Cruz's double to left-center leading off the fifth.
Yawning bats: Between Chase Headley's fourth-inning single and Carlos Beltran's ninth-inning double, the Yankees failed to get a hit for a stretch of 16 batters. Beltran's double eventually led to the Yankees' third run, which scored on Headley's groundout. But for the 57th time in 119 games, the Yankees failed to score more than three runs.
Cerved: The Yankees took a 2-0 third-inning lead on Francisco Cervelli's second home run of the season, a drive into the left-center field seats off a 2-2 Chris Tillman curveball with Stephen Drew (leadoff double) aboard.
No. 26 for No. 28: Yankees skipper Joe Girardi got himself tossed after the top of the seventh inning for arguing with plate umpire Gerry Davis about a call on Drew, who was ruled out of the baseline heading to first on a dribbler to the right of the mound, ending the inning. It was the 26th ejection of Girardi's managerial career, but only his second this year. Davis, incidentally, was the ump who tossed Pineda for using pine tar against the Red Sox back in April. The official ruling was batter interference, which is not reviewable.
Next: An overnight flight to Tampa, an off-day Thursday, and then three games at The Trop over the weekend. Pitching matchups: Brandon McCarthy (4-1, 2.21) vs. RHP Alex Cobb (7-6, 3.41) on Friday at 7:10 p.m.; Shane Greene (3-1, 2.89) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (7-10, 3.73) on Saturday at 4:05 p.m., and Hiroki Kuroda (7-8, 4.03) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 2.61) on Sunday at 1:40 p.m.