CC Sabathia wasn't great, but he was good enough to save the bullpen and go deep into the game, and Alex Rodriguez blasted his 5th homerun of the season, but it wasn't enough for the Yankees to overcome a dominating performance by Chris Tillman, as the Bombers fell to the O's, 4-2, Monday night at Camden Yards.
"It's frustrating, but it's baseball," Sabathia said. "You've got to go out and try to keep the game close. He's been pitching well all year, and it's up to me to try to keep the game close and give these guys a chance to win."
The Yankees jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning when A-Rod, who batted second in the lineup for the first time since August 26th, 2006, launched a solo homerun to right field of Tillman. It was 3-2 pitch that A-Rod got enough of to send out of the park.
Sabathia took the mound with the lead in the bottom of the 1st, but he didn't hold it for long, giving up a leadoff double to Nick Markakis, who would move to third on a shallow groundout to third base, then scored on a sac-fly by Adam Jones.
Tillman and Sabathia dueled it out through five innings as the teams played tied until the 5th when Baltimore scored a pair of runs off CC, with Matt Wieters driving in the first run on a sac-fly to center field, then Markakis came through again with an RBI single to center field to make it a 3-1 game.
"It's that time of the year, and situations call for it," Sabathia said. "You're trying to get the runner over to third; get runs however you can. So they did a good job of that."
Working with the lead, Tillman dominated. Up until Lyle Overbay added another run for the Yankees in the 8th with a solo homerun to right field, making it a 4-2 game, he had retired 14 straight hitters, allowing just two runs on four, while striking out nine to compliment zero walks in seven plus innings.
"His changeup was outstanding tonight," Girardi said of Tillman. "He also has a good curveball, but I thought his changeup was the equalizer tonight; moving his fastball up and down as much as in and out."
Manny Machado tacked on another run for Baltimore in the 7th inning on a double -- what else -- to right field, scoring Wieters to extend the lead to 4-1. CC pitched into the 8th before being relieved by Adam Warren. He gave up four runs on seven hits, while striking out six in 7.1 innings.
The Yankees tried to put together a rally in the 9th against O's closer Jim Johnson. But with two outs and a runner on first, Curtis Granderson flew out to the warming track in right-center field the end the game, giving the Yanks their fourth loss in the last five games.
"We're still in it," Romine said. "It's baseball. Anything can happen. We're coming out here to win every game, and you can't count us out. We keep battling and battling and battling."