The Yankees lost the last game of the series against the Baltimore Orioles as a result of Mariano Rivera’s second blown save of the season. This loss ended the Yankees winning streak at six games.
Rivera entered with the score 1-0 and Nick Markakis nearly tied the game with a deep homer to right field, but it was inches wide of the foul pole. However, Markakis would get on base and the next batter, the All-Star Adam Jones, hit a homer to left center that would be the game winner.
The only other save that Rivera did not convert this season was against the Mets on May 28. He had saved 41 consecutive games at Yankee Stadium so Rivera proved that he is human with this performance. Rivera has closed 29 saves in 31 chances this season.
Hiroki Kuroda pitched an excellent seven shutout innings, only allowing three hits, after it was announced on Friday that his start would be delayed until today as a result of a sore left hip flexor. It can be argued that Joe Girardi should have left Kuroda in to pitch the eighth after 88 pitches, but Robertson, (who you can vote for here the All-Star Game) retired the side in order in the eighth, and when Rivera enters the game he always instills confidence.
It was a smart decision for Rivera to take Kuroda out after seven innings because he was coming off of the minor injury. If Kuroda did not have his previous start delayed then Girardi should have left him in to pitch the eighth inning.
(Rivera revealed after the game in an interview that he wore the high socks in honor of David Robertson’s campaign to be the last player added to the American League All-Star team.)
The Yankees were only able to manage six hits off of five Orioles pitchers and they all came off of starter Jason Hammel. Eduardo Nunez’s sacrifice fly in the second accounted for the only run of the game. He has been able make a difference from the offensive side since his return yesterday. However, the Yankees should have been able to score more than one run off of Hammel who had a 5.19 ERA entering today’s contest.
It is a good sign for the Yankees that Kuroda was able to bounce back against the potent Orioles offense because in his last start, also against the Orioles, he gave up four earned runs in six innings. This is not like how he has usually performed this season since he has a 2.95 ERA and has allowed two runs or less in more than half of his starts.
That was definitely a game that the Yankees let slip away, but the fact that Kuroda dominated like he often has and Robertson did not allow a run for his ninth outing in a row is important.
Manny Machado made an outstanding play on a Luis Cruz grounder that absolutely robbed him of a single. Cruz hit a ball in Machado’s direction at third that he bobbled, which led the ball to bounce a few feet from from the foul line and Machado still threw Cruz out at first. There are not many third baseman that could make that throw.
The Yankees will look to start a new winning streak against the Kansas City Royals. On Monday night, they will play the first of four games against the Royals. Kanas City is better than they have been in previous seasons. The Yankees can’t let an inferior team win the first game of the series.