NEW YORK –- These are desperate times for the Orioles. They got swept in Yankee Stadium for the first time in more than five years. They’ve trailing New York by seven games in the AL East, and they’re not hitting.
“Our guys will punch back,” manager Buck Showalter vows.
They better start soon.
The Orioles (46-48) are two games below .500 for the first time since June 10, and those 18 wins in 23 games last month seems long ago and far away.
Now, their skid is 14 losses in 19 games after their 9-3 loss to the Yankees before 46,875 on Thursday.
“We’re not disappointed or frustrated. We got beat. Stop crying. That’s what I’m sick and tired of, man. Stop crying. Nobody in the clubhouse crying. We got beat. It’s a very good team over there. Go to Tampa and do what we’ve gotta go. There’s 60-some, 70-some games left. Nobody’s crying, man,” Adam Jones said.
Jones had a difficult series here, going just 2-for-12, as the Orioles offense sputtered.
“We didn't do the things we needed. It's frustrating,” Showalter said.
After the All-Star break, the Orioles won two of three against the Tigers and then, three losses here.
“The season doesn't stop and the challenges don't end. There's another challenge around every corner and that's what professionals have to do at this level is put the good things like Detroit behind them and the bad things that happened here,” Showalter said.
For the first half of the season, Ubaldo Jimenez could be depended upon to deliver a solid performance.
Something’s happened to him in the second half.
In his two starts since the All-Star break, Jimenez (7-6) has allowed 14 runs in seven innings. He had an awful first inning, giving up four runs as New York (52-41) batted around. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single, Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez walked to load the bases. Jimenez struck out Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran flied to short left.
Chase Headley hit a long double to center, scoring three. Headley took third on a throw home, and scored on Didi Gregorius’ single to right.
“I put myself in trouble. I walked two guys and then I got two huge outs, and I didn’t get out of the inning,” Jimenez said.
It was the second straight rocky first inning for an Orioles starter. On Wednesday night, Kevin Gausman allowed three runs in the first.
Chris Davis homered to lead off the second, his 21st of the season. He homered in his last at-bat on Wednesday night.
Ellsbury got the run back in the second, leading off with his third of the season, and in the third, Jimenez was done.
“I was falling behind in the count. I kept throwing in the fat part of the plate, missing a lot right down the middle, and they took advantage of that,” Jimenez said.
With one out Gregorius singled. John Ryan Murphy singled, too, and Gregorius scored on Stephen Drew’s double.
Tommy Hunter replaced Jimenez, whose line was seven runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings. It equaled Jimenez’s shortest start with the Orioles.
“His command's been bothering him a little bit. He's been wild in the strike zone. It's not like he's walking a bunch of people. He's a pitch away from getting out of that first inning and we're on our way, but he got a fastball right on the center of the plate to Headley and he paid a price. We just haven't swung the bats very well, either. They pitched well but it's been a combination of both,” Showalter said.
Hunter retired all five batters he faced, and Bud Norris gave up a two-run double to Ellsbury in the fifth to give New York a 9-1 lead.
The Orioles (46-48), who are two games under .500 for the first time since June 10, did little against Masahiro Tanaka (7-3).
Tanaka pitched 7 2/3 innings, struck out seven and walked none. Davis was the only baserunner to reach in the first five innings. Besides his home run, he hit a fly ball to Gardner that he didn’t come close to catching for a two-base error in the fourth.
Jimmy Paredes doubled with one out in the sixth. J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado homered in the eighth, the sixth for Hardy, and the 21st for Machado.
Jimenez says the clubhouse isn’t happy, but the team must press on.
“It’s not good. We came over here looking forward to winning the series, trying to keep it close, and then we lost three games. It’s hard, but we have to keep going,” Jimenez said.
COMING UP: Chris Tillman (7-7, 4.96) faces Chris Archer (9-7, 2.73) on Friday night at 7:10 p.m. as the Orioles begin a three-game series in Tampa Bay.