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Jimenez hit hard early, Baltimore bats quiet against Tanaka in 9-3 loss to Yankees for sweep

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NEW YORK — Adam Jones was over another tough loss in New York about a quickly as Chase Headley's first-inning drive soared past the All-Star center fielder.

Jones had no chance at catching Headley's three-run double off Ubaldo Jimenez, and the Orioles never recovered n a 9-3 loss to the Yankees on Thursday. New York swept the three-game series, dropping seven out of first in the AL East.

"Nobody in this clubhouse is crying," Jones said. "Got beat. Very good team over there. Go to Tampa and do what we've got to do."

Didi Gregorius followed Headley's bases-clearing hit with an RBI single off Jimenez as New York increased its major league-leading total of first-inning runs to 86.

Jimenez (7-6) went into the All-Star break with a 2.81 ERA, firmly established as the Orioles' ace. Since then he's given up seven runs in consecutive starts against Detroit and the Yankees.

The Yankees put up seven runs and eight hits, chasing Jimenez after 2 1-3 innings and lifting his ERA to 3.81.

"I was executing my pitches down in the zone," Jimenez said of his first half, "and right now I'm missing right down the middle."

Baltimore has lost four of six since the four-day break and at 46-48 is two games under .500 for the first time since June 10. The Orioles entered this series in second place in the AL East but headed to Florida in fourth.

"It's frustrating. I know our guys," manager Buck Showalter said. "We have to punch back."

Jacoby Ellsbury finished a triple shy of the cycle and drove in four runs for the Yankees. Ellsbury homered, had a sacrifice fly and a two-run double among three hits. With a chance at the cycle, he grounded back to the pitcher in the eighth.

Masahiro Tanaka (7-3) won his third straight start, allowing three solo homers and a pair of doubles in 7 2-3 innings to help New York to its ninth win in 11 games.

"You can't tell what a fastball or split looks like," Jones said, and then that cutter that he dealt today. Man, tip your cap to the man."

PHOTO: Home plate umpire Todd Tichenor, second from left, watches as Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, left, reaches for a wide throw as New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez (13) scores on Chase Headley's first-inning three-run double in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, July 23, 2015. Yankees' Brett Gardner, back right, watches the play. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Home plate umpire Todd Tichenor, second from left, watches as Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, left, reaches for a wide throw as New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez (13) scores on Chase Headley's first-inning three-run double in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, July 23, 2015. Yankees' Brett Gardner, back right, watches the play. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The Yankees are 12 over .500 at 53-41 for the first time since May 25, 2013, their high point that season.

"I think there's a lot of confidence in that clubhouse, right now, the way everyone is swinging the bats," manager Joe Girardi said.

Ellsbury got the Yankees rolling right away, leading off the first with a single. Jimenez walked the bases loaded then struck out Mark Teixeira and got Carlos Beltran to fly to left. Headley hit the first pitch he saw to the wall in center field.

Four days from turning 40, Alex Rodriguez chugged home from first. He reached down awkwardly to try to touch the plate and did two full barrel rolls before landing on his back. Brett Gardner twice waved his arms wide — safe!

Ellsbury led off the second with a homer and had a sacrifice fly an inning later as the first batter to face reliever Tommy Hunter.

In the fifth, Ellsbury had a two-run double off Bud Norris, two batters after John Ryan Murphy's grounder hit off second base and shot straight up, giving the backup catcher his third hit and second that nicked a base.

Hurt by the long ball all season, Tanaka yielded a homer to Chris Davis to start the second. He then didn't allow a hit until Jimmy Paredes doubled with one out in the sixth. J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado connected in the eighth to chase the Japanese star.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Showalter said RHP Jason Garcia (shoulder tendinitis, 60-day DL) is still a while away from returning, but his velocity is back up to the mid-90s.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Chris Tillman (7-7) pitched one-hit ball for eight innings in his last start. This will be his fourth start this season against the Rays. He's 1-2 with 18 strikeouts in 18 1-3 innings.

Yankees: Michael Pineda (9-6) starts the opener of New York's season high-tying 10-game road trip in Minnesota. Pineda has faced Torii Hunter three times and Hunter has two homers and five RBIs.

SUN DAY

Many Little Leaguers could empathize with Gardner, when the Yankees left fielder lost Davis' flyball in the fourth despite wearing shades. While ranging back onto the warning track with his glove up, Gardner took several awkward shuffle steps and fell on his backside as the ball bounced off the dirt just a foot or two behind him and into the crowd. Gardner was initially given an error but postgame it was changed to a double.

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