Results tagged ‘ American League East ’
For a while there, it looked as if the Yankees would just shove the Rays aside and not worry about them anymore by winning six of the first seven games against Tampa Bay this year. After the past two nights, however, the Rays have demonstrated that they have no intention of going away.
For the second straight night, the Yankees could not muster an offense beyond a two-run first inning, a lead their starting pitcher in each case failed to hold. Adam Warren followed Nathan Eovaldi in allowing the Rays to come back Wednesday night, this time by a 3-2 score, which brought Tampa Bay back to two games behind the Yankees in the American League East.
Just as in Tuesday night’s game, Tampa Bay’s starter was wild at the beginning. Nathan Karns walked the first two batters on eight pitches and threw a ninth straight ball on the first pitch in the at-bat of 3-hole hitter Alex Rodriguez, who eventually flied out to shallow center field.
Singles by Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann made it 2-0 Yankees, but once again they failed to break the inning wide open as Carlos Beltran was called out on strikes and Stephen Drew, playing his first major-league game at third base, flied out to center. Karns settled down after that and got through five innings, although he needed a strong throw from center fielder Kevin Kiermaier to cut off the potential tying run in the fifth by gunning down Teixeira at the plate.
Four Tampa Bay relieves held the Yankees to three hits over the final four innings with seven strikeouts.
Warren gave back a run in the first on Steven Souza’s sixth home run of the year and the rest of the lead in the second on doubles by Logan Fosythe and Asdrubal Cabrera (his 1,000th career hit) and a single by Joey Butler. Warren also settled down after that and retired the last 10 batters he faced in a row through the seventh. Andrew Miller struck out the side in the eighth, but the Yankees could not strike back.
After slugging five home runs plus two doubles Monday night, the Yankees have had no extra-base hits since then. All 10 of their hits Wednesday night were singles as were all eight of their hits Tuesday night. Singles can score runs, of course; after all, four did the past two nights, but all came in the first inning and no RBI hits of any kind after that.
Drew’s appearance at third base probably means that Rodriguez can hang up his glove. A-Rod’s 39-year-old legs have started to feel heavy, so full-time designated hitter duty is his lot.
In the meantime, that team in the rearview mirror no longer seems so distant.
Teams that go on extended winning streaks better stay away from the Yankees. They have snapped two opponents’ winning streaks of at least five games on this homestand.
The Yankees ended the Mets’ 11-game winning streak last Friday night and the Rays’ five-game run Monday night. The Yanks are 9-2 since April 17 after starting the season 3-6. They entered play Tuesday night alone in first place in the American League East for the first time since May 19 last year.
In each of their last eight games, the Yankees faced teams with at least a share of first place in their respective divisions (April 20-23 against the Tigers, April 24-26 against the Mets and Monday night against the Rays) and were 6-2 in that stretch.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the longest such stretch for the Yankees since eight straight games from June 9-16, 2011 against the Red Sox (1), the Indians (4) and the Rangers (3) with the Yanks also going 6-2.
Yankees closer Andrew Miller was surprised to find out that he is the first reliever in franchise history to have as many as eight saves in the team’s first 20 games of a season.
“I would have thought Mariano Rivera had a year with 19 by that time,” the lefthander said.
Miller’s late-inning partner, Dellin Betances, has not allowed an earned run in 11 1/3 innings in which he has compiled 17 strikeouts. Opposing batters are hitless with 12 Ks in their past 22 at-bats against him.
Adam Warren’s six-strikeout, no-walk outing Monday night was the Yankees’ major-league leading sixth start with at least 6Ks and 0 BBs. All five of the Yankees’ starters have had at least one start with at least six strikeouts and no walks. Michael Pineda has two.
Who would have thought when the Yankees and the Rays faced each other for the first time this season that they would both be in first place 10 days later?
The Yankees went into that series in mid-April at Tropicana Field with a 3-6 record and having made 11 errors. The Rays had a 6-4 record, but three days later had fallen a game below .500 due to the Yankees’ sweep.
Fortune has followed the two clubs since then and in the tightly-contested American League East of 2015 have found themselves fighting to stay atop the division in this three-game set at Yankee Stadium.
Tampa Bay came to town riding a five-game winning streak while the Yankees had won three straight series, including this past weekend against the Mets, who have the best overall record in the major leagues.
The Yankees took over sole possession of first place Monday night with a 4-1 victory that ended the Rays’ streak. The Yanks have treated Tampa Bay this season like the expansion team it was in the 1990s and early 2000s by going 4-0 against the Rays thus far.
Adam Warren had a quality start with only one run and five hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The glitches were a couple of wild pitches in the sixth inning that helped the Rays tie the score at 1. The run scored on a fielder’s choice with drawn-in second baseman Stephen Drew taking an extra step before throwing to the plate and failing to prevent David DeJesus from crossing.
The Yankees had another strong bullpen effort as four relievers combined for 3 1/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball with one walk and four strikeouts. Justin Wilson was credited with his first victory of the season, and Andrew Miller made it 8-for-8 in saves.
Catcher Brian McCann was a big part of the Yankees’ offense. He homered one out into the sixth to put the Yanks ahead again with doubles by Carlos Beltran and Drew pushing the lead to 3-1. In the eighth, McCann led off with an excuse-me swing against the shift for a single and eventually scored when Jacoby Ellsbury was struck by a pitch with the bases loaded.
I do not normally pay much attention to the standings until June in following an old baseball axiom. Yet considering how much the Yankees stumbled coming out of the gate reaching the top of the division says a lot about this team’s resiliency.
Just as important, as manager Joe Girardi pointed out, is how much better the Yankees are playing at home. They were 1-4 during the first homestand but have won three of the past four games at the Stadium.
Although 0-for-4 Monday night, Mark Teixeira has been a major part of their April turnaround and was named AL Player of the Week for the period ending April 26. Tex hit .333 with six runs, one double, five home runs and 10 RBI in seven games and 33 at-bats.
You have probably read numerous accounts in the media how the Mets are poised to supplant the Yankees as the No. 1 baseball team in New York. The return of Matt Harvey, the 14-4 start, the 10-0 record thus far at Citi Field, all of that has Mets fans ready to declare their team king of the New York hill.
Well, not so fast, Mr. Met.
The Yankees made it clear this past weekend they are not ready to roll over and let the Mets steal their thunder. Sure, Harvey was everything everyone says about him Saturday, but the other two games belonged to the Yankees, who overcame a 2-0, first-inning deficit Sunday night to win the rubber game of the series, which was easily the sloppiest for both squads.
But it was the Mets who really saved their worst for last. Jonathan Niese coughed up the lead with help from teammates who sprung leaks in the field and on the bases. The Mets were guilty of four errors, plus the embarrassment of Eric Campbell forgetting how many outs there were and getting doubled off first base.
Sunday night’s 6-4 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 47,510 at Yankee Stadium was not the most stylish of triumphs by the Yankees, either. Their infield committed two errors, and starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi could not get through the fifth inning to qualify for a winning decision that went instead to reliever Chasen Shreve, the first of his major-league career.
Eovaldi did not walk any batters and struck out six, but he gave up seven hits, many of them monstrously struck. A dazzling catch by Chris Young in center field kept the first inning from completely falling apart for Eovaldi.
Niese, who entered the game with a 1.50 ERA, let the game slip away from him in the first two innings. Alex Rodriguez’s 659th career home run started the Yanks’ comeback in the first inning. They kept it up in the second with four runs on doubles by John Ryan Murphy, Gregorio Petit, Brett Gardner and Rodriguez, a single by Young and a woefully poor throw by left fielder Michael Cuddyer. The four doubles were the most in one inning for the Yankees since the first inning of a 7-4 victory May 21, 2009 against the Orioles by Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Melky Cabrera.
Even after the Mets closed to 5-4, the Yankees did not panic and got another run in the sixth on A-Rod’s second RBI on an infield out. The key to getting that run was a Yankees challenge on what was originally ruled a groundout by Gardner. Replays showed first base umpire Adam Hamari missed the call that was reversed. Gardner eventually scored.
The Yankees wasted a leadoff double by Chase Headley in the sixth inning and made nine straight outs after that, but the Mets got nowhere with the Yanks’ bullpen, either. Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller continued their 8th-9th inning tandem. They each allowed one base runner (Betances on a third-strike wild pitch and Miller on a hit batter) but no hits and, more importantly, no runs.
The Mets’ record of 14-5 is still superior to the Yankees’ mark of 11-8, but for the weekend it was 2-1 Yanks. Now they head into a big series against the Rays, whom the Yankees swept a weekend ago at St. Petersburg, Fla. The clubs are tied for first place in the American League East, so the Mets are not the only first-place team in New York.
The Yankees got a taste of their own recent medicine over the weekend in Baltimore where their post-season hopes grew grimmer after losing three of four games to an Orioles team that has its magic number for clinching the American League East title to three. The Yankees’ last gasping hope for a trip to the playoffs lay in the second wild-card slot, and they are five games back with 14 games to play.
The Yankees started the series at Camden Yards trip on a high from consecutive comeback victories over Tampa Bay at Yankee Stadium in which they obliterated 4-0 deficits. Chris Young, who made huge contributions to both those victories, was in position to be the hero again Friday in the afternoon game of a day/night doubleheader when he homered with two outs in the 11th inning to break a scoreless tie.
Adam Warren, pitching the bottom of the 11th because closer David Robertson had already pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief, couldn’t hold the Orioles down, however, and lost the game on a bases-loaded, two-out double by pinch hitter Jimmy Paredes. The Yankees then got shut out, 5-0, on four hits in the night game, which took away any sense of momentum they had from the Rays series.
Saturday’s 4-3 victory behind Shane Greene and four relievers was a brief reprieve, but the fact that the Yankees had no runs and one hit in the eight innings other than their three-run second that included a home run by Brian McCann and a steal of home by Young was emblematic of the offensive struggles that would continue in the series.
Sunday night’s game resembled the day-game loss Friday in that the Yankees took a one-run lead in the last inning and then gave up two runs in the bottom half for another walk-off loss, their eighth of the season. McCann’s second home run of the series and 20th of the season put the Yanks up, 2-1, in the top of the ninth.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi decided to bring in Robertson for the third straight day instead of staying with Dellin Betances, who had pitched a shutout eighth with two strikeouts. That gave him 130 for the season, tying Mariano Rivera’s 1996 franchise mark for K’s by a relief pitcher.
I do not fault Girardi’s judgment here. Robertson is his closer. The manager has been careful with his relievers all year so they would be strong in September where they are needed most. Robertson’s stuff was up all inning. The Orioles quickly tied the score on successive doubles by Nelson Cruz and Steve Pearce. One out later, Kelly Johnson, of all people, drove in the winner with another double. Johnson batted .219 in 77 games and 201 at-bats for the Yankees this year before he was traded to the Red Sox July 31 for Stephen Drew, who is hitting .135 in 104 at-bats for the Yankees. The Orioles acquired Johnson in an Aug. 30 deal with Boston. Playing for his third AL East team this season, Johnson finally ended up in first place.
The crushing loss obscured a very good outing by Hiroki Kuroda, who gave up one run and six hits with no walks and five strikeouts in seven innings. Once again, Yankees pitching was not the main problem despite the two bullpen leaks.
The Yankees batted .172 and slugged .261 as a team in the series in which they totaled six runs in 38 innings. They were 2-for-20 (.100) with runners in scoring position. Jacoby Ellsbury was 2-for-17, Mark Teixeira 1-for-11, Brett Gardner 1-for-10 and Derek Jeter 0-for-11. The Captain’s slump goes beyond this series; he is hitless in his past 24 at-bats as his average has sunk to .250.
To make matters worse, the Sunday Night Baseball date means the Yankees will arrive in St. Petersburg, Fla., in the wee hours of the morning Monday where that night they open a three-game set against the Rays at Tropicana Field. The playoff outlook is equally as bleary.
A trip considered pivotal for the Yankees’ playoff chances did not turn out as well as they had hoped. They got off to a good start with a victory in Kansas City over one of the contenders for post-season play but hit snags in Detroit and Toronto where the Yanks lost each series, two games to one.
Sunday’s finale at Rogers Centre was a major disappointment. One day after sustaining a one-hit shutout, the Yankees bounced back against J.A. Happ to take a 3-0 lead behind Brandon McCarthy, who was rolling along through five innings working on a two-hit shutout.
Before McCarthy could get the third out of the sixth, however, he was smacked for two long home runs by Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista that made it a one-run game. Cabrera’s 16th home run of the season was his fifth this year against his former teammates. Bautista’s 29th homer of the season made it five straight games in which he has gone deep, one shy of the franchise record by Jose Cruz Jr. in 2001. The major league record is eight shared by the Pirates’ Dale Long (1956), the Yankees’ Don Mattingly (1987) and the Mariners’ Ken Griffey Jr. (1993).
Edwin Encarnacion tied the score when he led off the seventh with another bomb of a homer (No. 28), and a shaken McCarthy then walked Dioner Navarro. That turned out to be just as bad as the home runs when pinch runner Steve Tolleson stole second base with two out and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Munenori Kawasaki off Dellin Betances. The play at home was close, but Tolleson sliding head first got his left hand across the plate just before the lunging tag by catcher Francisco Cervelli.
The Yankees had chances after that to get back in the game. They had two runners on with two out in the eighth against Brett Cecil, but Cervelli struck out. In the ninth, Jacoby Ellsbury, hobbled by a sprained left ankle that was heavily taped, came off the bench and pinch-hit a double to shallow right field with one out. Pinch runner Ichiro Suzuki moved to third as Brett Gardner, who flirted with a cycle, grounded out to the right side.
That brought up Derek Jeter in what was likely his final game in Toronto. A Hollywood ending would have had the Captain trying the score at least with a single or perhaps even putting the Yanks ahead with a two-run homer. Instead, he hit a soft liner to Tolleson to end the disappointing trip in which the Yankees were 3-4.
The Yanks wasted several other scoring opportunities. Cervelli tripled with two out in the second before Stephen Drew struck out. Cervelli singled in the Yankees’ second run in the fourth, but he and another runner were stranded when Drew flied out.
Gardner accounted for the other two runs with his 16th home run of the season, the fifth leading off a game, and a triple in the fifth when he continued to the plate on an errant relay by Jose Reyes. Gardner doubled with two out in the seventh but Jeter was out on a pepper shot. Gardner needed a single to complete the cycle, and it might have tied the score in the ninth except he grounded out. He also flied out to left field in the third inning.
While the Yankees had 11 hits, the middle of their lineup was silent as Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran combined to go 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. The Yanks had 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
The Yankees’ loss dropped them nine games behind first-place Baltimore in the American League East, and they stayed 3 1/2 games back in the wild-card race by failing to take advantage of a Detroit loss with Seattle and Kansas City playing later in the day. Even worse, the Yankees could have buried the Blue Jays but instead allowed Toronto to pull to 1 1/2 games behind them in the wild-card hunt.
Labor Day turns out to be a holiday as well for the Yankees, who have Monday off. Then it’s another crucial nine-game stretch at Yankee Stadium with three-game series each against the Red Sox, Royals and Rays. Time is growing short.
No sooner had Jacoby Ellsbury reached first base with a leadoff single in the third inning Wednesday night at Detroit that I said to myself, “Anyone else on this team want to help this guy?”
Ellsbury had accounted for both Yankees runs in Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss with solo home runs and opened Wednesday’s game with a single and a stolen base but was stranded at second base.
I do not claim any penchant for mental telepathy, but I may have transmitted something across to the rest of the Yankees because all they did an entire turn through the batting order that inning was follow Ellsbury’s lead and reach base with hits.
It was a manager’s absolute dream as Joe Girardi watched each player he placed in the lineup knock his way on base. Ellsbury’s speed got him a second steal as he outran a pickoff. Derek Jeter brought him home with a double as the parade began, followed by a single by Martin Prado, a double by Mark Teixeira and singles by Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Chase Headley, Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli. Not only did the Yankees get nine hits in a row but also eight straight with runners in scoring position, which in some cases this year has been a series worth of clutch hits.
And that was no tomato can on the mound off of whom the Yankees got nine consecutive hits, two shy of the Rockies’ major league mark against the Cubs in 2010. The Detroit starter was none other than 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner David Price, who entered the game with a 10-5 career record against the Yankees.
Price never did get an out that inning. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus yanked him for another lefthander, Blaine Hardy, who gave up two more runs on sacrifice flies by Ellsbury and Jeter as the Yankees swelled their lead to 8-0.
Remember how excited the Yankees were Monday night when they scored eight runs against the Royals with James Shields starting? Well, this time they scored that many runs in just one inning.
Ellsbury certainly looks comfortable back in the leadoff spot where he batted most often in his years with the Red Sox. Girardi has had to use him in the 3-hole much of this year because of the inconsistency and injuries to Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran.
Usual leadoff man Gardner was out the first two games of the trip because of a right ankle bruise. He was back Wednesday night but dropped to the 8-hole because of his career problems against Price (2-for-20 entering play).
With two hits, two stolen bases and an RBI over his first three plate appearances, Ellsbury definitely was a table setter. Yet for a change he had plenty of support.
As appreciative as Girardi for all this offense was Yanks starter Shane Greene, who did not give up a hit or a run until the fourth inning. The righthander did not pitch as it he had a huge lead but rather as if the score was close, the best approach for a pitcher to take.
Green gave up two runs, five hits and one walk with a hit batter and eight strikeouts in seven innings to remain undefeated in eight starts since July 21 and improve his record to 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA.
The big-inning victory also did the Yanks quite a bit of good in the standings. They picked up a game on the Orioles in the American League East and now trail by six and sliced a game off the deficit for the second wild card spot to 2 1/2 games behind the Mariners and two behind the Tigers.
So when is a 2-3 trip considered good? When it starts out 0-3.
That was the situation with the Yankees at the end of a somewhat bumpy ride through Baltimore and St. Petersburg. They finished in an upbeat fashion Sunday with a 4-2 victory that included a semblance of a sustained offense and an encouraging outing by Hiroki Kuroda.
The victory also lifted the Yankees back into second place in the American League East, albeit a distant second since they trail the first-place Orioles by seven games. The Yanks are also 3 1/2 games behind in the chase for the second wild-card berth.
Kuroda was working on extra rest, which is something Yankees manager Joe Girardi intends to do as often as he can in the season’s final six weeks to prevent the fade the Japanese righthander sustained in the second half of the 2013 season. He certainly seemed to benefit from the extra time off.
Never before at his best against the Rays (2-4, 6.07 ERA) or at Tropicana Field (1-2, 6.94 ERA), Kuroda was in first-half form with 6 2/3 innings in which he allowed two runs and four hits. Pitching to contact (one walk, one strikeout), Kuroda retired 17 batters in a row from the first through the sixth innings.
Kuroda gave up a run in the first inning, and that run looked quite large when Rays righthander Jeremy Hellickson, who has pitched only since last month after undergoing arthroscopic right elbow surgery in January, took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and got the first two out then rather easily.
A walk to Stephen Drew was the beginning of a sloppy inning for Hellickson, his last in the game, as the Yankees strung together four hits — a double by Martin Prado, a two-run single by Brett Gardner that gave the Yankees the lead, followed by singles by Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury resulting in another run. The hit by Ellsbury was his only one on the trip in 20 at-bats but came at a good time. Prado also had a superlative game defensively at second base with eight assists and one putout.
Evan Longoria’s RBI single in the seventh off a tiring Kuroda cut the Yanks’ lead to 3-2, but Shawn Kelley stranded a runner at third before turning matters over to Dellin Betances in the eighth and David Robertson (33rd save) in the ninth, which has become a can’t-miss tandem.
Mark Teixeira made it 4-2 in the eighth with his 20th home run of the season and career No. 361, which tied him with Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio on the all-time list. Nice company that.
So the trip’s finish was far better than the start. The Yankees’ offense continues to be a concern. They averaged merely 2.6 runs per game on the trip and have been outscored by 37 runs this season.
But they come home with some momentum and have a chance to make some headway on the upcoming homestand against the also-ran Astros and White Sox.
The Yankees ended a disturbing pattern on this trip in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the Rays that stopped a five-game losing streak. In the two games at Baltimore that began the trip, the Yankees scored early but failed to add to their lead while the Orioles came back to take each game.
Friday night was different but not in a good way. The Yankees did not give up the lead because they never had one. In fact, they did not score at all.
Saturday was looking like the same thing for a while. The Yanks jumped ahead 2-0 in the second inning against lefthander Drew Smyly on Martin Prado’s sixth home run of the season. Inning after inning went by without the Yankees extending the lead for Shane Greene, who was brilliant with 10 strikeouts in six-plus innings. The Rays scored single runs in the sixth and seventh to tie the score and hang Greene with a no-decision. He was kicking himself for hitting a batter with a pitch to start the seventh. A pinch runner eventually came around to score the tying run.
Then came the ninth, and things started going the Yankees’ way. Brett Gardner led off with an infield single and continued to second base on an errant throw by second baseman Logan Fosythe.
Derek Jeter attempted to bunt Gardner to third base but could not handle lefthander Jake McGee’s high octane gas as the count went to 2-2. Tampa Bay kept its infield tight with the idea that DJ still might bunt despite having two strikes. Nope. The Captain swung away and lined a 99-mph fastball past a diving Forsythe for a single to right-center that brought Gardner home with what proved the winning run.
Pitching for the first time in nine days, David Robertson notched his 32nd save to preserve the victory for Dellin Betances (5-0), who pitched a perfect eighth inning. Shawn Kelley also pitched a shutout seventh as the bullpen had its first strong performance on the trip.
The loss dropped the Rays back under .500 (61-62) after they had gotten to the level level with Friday night’s 5-0 victory, quite a feat for a team that was once 18 games under .500. The last major-league team to go from 18-under to .500 in the same season was the Marlins in 2006 when they were managed by current Yankees skipper Joe Girardi.
He picked a perfect game to put Carlos Beltran back in right field for the first time since May 11 because the way Greene pitched nobody hit the ball to Beltran, who did not have a fielding chance until he caught a drive by Evan Longoria for the first out of the eighth inning.
Beltran’s return to the outfield permits Girardi to go back to his preference of using the designated hitter spot as a way to give players a half-game off. Saturday’s hero, Jeter, was the DH in this one.
Girardi decided against using Brian McCann, who came off the 7-day concussion list, and had Francisco Cervelli behind the plate. McCann had a lackluster workout Friday, so Girardi chose to wait at least one more day before getting his regular catcher back in the mix.
The much-needed victory also guaranteed the Yankees will leave St. Petersburg after Sunday’s game no deeper than third place in the American League East. After the shutout loss Friday night, it created a situation where the Rays could have jumped over the Yankees in the standings this weekend, a prognosis that fell apart with Saturday’s comeback victory.
It is still too early to consider a series a must-win, yet that was how the Yankees identified the three-game set against the Orioles that began Monday night with a thud. All the 11-3 loss did was to add more pressure on the Yankees, who need to win the next two games to capture the series.
Based on what happened at Camden Yards Monday night, it is hard to remain optimistic. The Yankees blew a 3-1 lead and were outscored, 9-0, with only one hit, a Derek Jeter double in the fifth, after the second inning. It is easy to say that the bullpen let the game get away from the Yankees, but the offense was also at fault as it failed to tack on runs and force the Orioles out of their game.
Instead, Baltimore remained close enough to strike back and did so in a big way on a two-run home run by Chris Davis off Chris Capuano in the fifth and a three-run bomb by Nelson Cruz in the seventh off Adam Warren. Joseph Schoop added a three-run homer in the eighth off Chase Whitley as the final crusing blown of a 14-hit attack that included eight for extra bases.
Davis, struggling this year after his 53-homer season in 2013, was not even in the starting lineup. He entered the game at third base in place of Manny Machado, who exited in the third inning due to a sprained right knee.
The offensive outburst was a continuation of combustable forces by the Orioles, who have scored 10 or more runs in three of the past four games. What a difference compared to the Yankees, who have reached double figures in runs in only four games all season. Monday night, they got three runs without a run-scoring hit. The runs came on an infield out and a double steal aided by two Baltimore errors.
We all keep waiting for them to turn things around, and there is no better time than now against the first-place team in the American League East. The Yankees now trail the Orioles by seven games. The clubs have nine games remaining against each other, but the Yankees need to make up some ground as early as possible.