Yankees did a swoon in June
For three nights in Baltimore, the Yankees watched a mirror image of what they were in 2012. The Yankees pummeled clubs last year with 245 home runs. The Orioles of 2013 are on such a pace. With three more bombs Sunday night in a 4-2 victory, the Orioles raised their season HR total to 115, the most in the major leagues.
By contrast, halfway through their season the Yankees have 81 home runs, the last of which was Robinson Cano’s 17th of the year, a solo shot in the sixth off Chris Tillman (10-2), who gave up one other run in six innings on a bases-loaded walk to Brett Gardner in the second and earned his seventh straight victory.
Cano’s jack got the Yankees to 3-2, but the Orioles got an insurance run in the seventh. Kuroda gave up a single to Matt Wieters and a double to J.J. Hardy before coming out for Boone Logan, who kept the damage to a minimum by yielding one run on a sacrifice fly by Brian Roberts.
Baltimore simply out-muscled the Yankees in the series, the first time they were swept in a three-game series at Camden Yards since April 15-17, 2005. The O’s out-homered the Yanks, 7-1, in the series with Chris Davis, the major-league home run leader with 31, leading the way with three. The first baseman’s leadoff homer in the second inning was one of three long balls given up by Hiroki Kuroda (7-6), who was also taken deep by Manny Machado in the first inning and Nate McLouth in the third.
Machado had two other hits, including his 38th double following McLouth’s blast. Machado and Davis are trying to pull off a tandem effort that has not been accomplished since the Yankees’ Murderers’ Row days. In 1927, Babe Ruth led the majors in home runs with 60 and teammate Lou Gehrig in doubles with 52. Davis and Machado are leading in those categories at this point.
Jim Johnson picked up his 28th save of the year and 100th of his career, which tied him with Stu Miller for third place on the franchise list behind all-time leader Gregg Olson (160) and runner-up Tippy Martinez (105). Johnson is the seventh active major-league pitcher to record 100 saves with his current club, joining the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera (634), the Tigers’ Jose Valverde (119), the Carlos Marmol (117), the Braves’ Craig Kimbrel (112), the Brewers’ John Axford (106) and the Indians’ Chris Perez (106). Six other active pitchers have recorded 100 or more saves with a club other than their current team – Joe Nathan, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Papelbon, J.J. Putz, Heath Bell and Joakim Soria. Since the start of 2012, Johnson has 78 saves, 13 more than any other reliever. Of course, that is due in part because Rivera was out most of the 2012 season because of a knee injury that required surgery.
The sweep ended a dismal June for the Yankees, who had an 11-16 record and were outscored, 122-88, during the month. The Yankees batted .223 as a team in June and averaged 3.26 runs per game, which put pressure on a staff that pitched to a 4.38 ERA during the month. The rotation was 8-15 with a 4.66 ERA.
The Yankees have lost five straight games for the third time this year as the clock is still ticking on Joe Girardi’s 600th managerial victory. Their other five-game losing streaks were May 26-30 to the Rays (1 game) and the Mets (4) and June 11-15 to the Athletics (3) and Angels (2). The loss Sunday dropped the Yankees into fourth place in the American League East, just two games ahead of the last-place Blue Jays.
Since their highpoint of the season after the games of May 25 when the Yankees had a 30-18 record, they are 12-21 and have lost 7 ½ games in the standings, going from first place with a one-game lead to fourth place and 6 ½ games from the top and four games from the second wild-card berth.
July will have to be much better for the Yankees.