BALTIMORE — Through the first eight games of the season, the struggling New York Yankees could at least depend on their bullpen for a solid performance.
Turns out, not even that component of the team can be considered totally reliable.
Three New York relievers combined to allow five runs in the pivotal sixth inning, and the Yankees fell to the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Wednesday night.
Making his second start for New York, Nathan Eovaldi struck out nine over five innings and left with a 3-2 lead. The right-hander was in position to end a run of eight straight losses — a streak that started last August with the Marlins — but the bullpen couldn't hold the advantage.
David Carpenter (0-1) gave up a leadoff homer to Jonathan Schoop and Delmon Young greeted reliever Tom Wilson with a pinch-hit RBI single. Chris Davis followed with a two-run double and Caleb Joseph capped the uprising with a run-scoring single off Chris Martin.
"You're winning after five and you have got a full bullpen, you feel pretty good about it," manager Joe Girardi said. "We just couldn't seem to get through that sixth inning."
New York's bullpen came in with a 1.73 ERA.
"We have some great arms in there," Eovaldi said. "It was just one of those nights."
"It's frustrating. It's not the way you want to start out," Girardi said. "Obviously we need to start winning series or it becomes a long year."
The Orioles, on the other hand, improved to 5-4 after taking two of three from New York.
"It's big," Davis said. "It's nice to be tested early in the year. We're playing our division pretty much this whole month, and it's good to kind of see where we're at and get a chance to see these guys."
Manny Machado hit his first home run of the season and Joseph went 3 for 4 with an RBI.
Brad Brach (1-0) pitched two innings of hitless relief for Baltimore following starter Bud Norris, who allowed three runs in five innings. Norris was attempting to become the third pitcher in history to win his first five starts against the Yankees.
Zach Britton worked the ninth for his third save.
It was apparent early on that neither starting pitcher was going to be very effective.
After Davis snapped an 0-for-10 skid with an RBI single in the first inning, New York went up 2-1 in the third. Norris retired the first two batters before Carlos Beltran hit a two-run double off the top of the wall in right-center.
Rodriguez sent a 2-0 pitch deep into the left-field seats in the fourth, the 656th home run of his career, and Machado hit a solo shot in the bottom half before Eovaldi worked out of a bases-loaded jam.
Yankees: Catcher McCann went 0 for 7 in the series and backup John Ryan Murphy went 1 for 3. McCann is batting .200 for the season.
Orioles: Joseph was 7 for 11 with two RBIs in the series and is batting .375. Baltimore is 19-1 when the catcher has an RBI, one reason why the Orioles aren't rushing back Matt Wieters, who's on the DL following elbow surgery last June.
Yankees: OF Brett Gardner missed a second straight game since being hit with a pitch on his right wrist Monday. He hopes to return Friday following an off day. Also, LH Chris Capuano (strained right quadriceps) is still about a month away from coming off the DL, manager Joe Girardi said.
Yankees: New York sends RH Adam Warren (0-1, 1.69 ERA) to the mound Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Tampa Bay.
Orioles: Following an off day Thursday, the Orioles open a four-game series in Boston. Each game has a different starting time: 7:10 p.m., 4:05 p.m., 1:35 p.m. and 11:05 a.m.
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