(Sports Network) - The New York Yankees once had what seemed like an
insurmountable lead in the American League East. That advantage, though, is
getting smaller by the day and the Baltimore Orioles hope to dwindle it even
further on Friday when the division rivals begin an important three-game
series at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees had a 10-lead after action on July 18, but injuries started to
take a toll and they have gone 18-21 since. They enter this series just three
games in front of the Orioles.
"We've got to bring it against the Orioles this weekend, for sure," Yankees
catcher Russell Martin said. "It's a big one."
Tampa, which welcomes the Yankees after this series, also sits 4 1/2 games
"Obviously if we could script it any different, we wouldn't have any of our
guys banged up," outfielder Nick Swisher said. "But that's kind of the way the
season goes. It's a long season. There are a lot of injuries. I feel like
we've dealt with that extremely well this year. No excuses, we've just got to
go out there and get it done."
New York lost two of three to the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the week, and
fell, 8-5, in Wednesday's finale. Curtis Granderson had a two-run double and
an RBI groundout for the Yankees, who have lost eight of their last 13 games.
Amazingly, they are 0-47 this season when trailing after eight innings.
"We didn't play well," said New York manager Joe Girardi. "That's the bottom
line. We had chances offensively and we didn't get it done. We had chances
defensively and we didn't get it done."
CC Sabathia (13-4) made his second start since returning from the disabled
list and gave up five runs -- two earned -- on nine hits over seven innings.
"Its definitely disappointing," Sabathia said. "I feel like this game is all
my fault, obviously."
Heading to the hill for the Yankees on Friday will be Japanese right-hander
Hiroki Kuroda, who is 12-9 with a 2.98 ERA. Kuroda gave up a three-run homer
in the first inning in Cleveland on Saturday and did not surrender another run
in eight innings of work, but still suffered the complete-game loss.
"I didn't think he really had his good stuff most of the night, but he found a
way to get people out," Girardi said.
Kuroda was brilliant in beating the Orioles earlier in the year in his only
other start against them, holding them to a run in seven innings.
Baltimore continued its improbable season on Thursday, as it won another close
game, beating the Chicago White Sox, 5-3. Adam Jones set a new career high
with his 26th home run of the season for the Orioles, who won for the fifth
time in their last six games.
Zach Britton (4-1) gave up one run on seven hits in a season-high eight
innings. He struck out a career-high 10 without a walk.
Getting the call for the Orioles on Friday will be righty Miguel Gonzalez, who
is 5-3 with a 3.66 ERA. Gonzalez lost for the first time in four decisions on
Aug. 20 in Texas, as he allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings.
The Orioles have won six of his nine starts.
He beat the Yankees in his only other start against them back on July 30.
New York has won six of 11 from the O's this season, but Baltimore has won
four of six in the Bronx.
The Sports Network