BALTIMORE -- The chances were there, but the hits weren't. Despite putting 10 runners on base and advancing five of them to third base, New York couldn't come up with a timely hit Friday and lost the series-opening game, 4-2, to the Orioles at Camden Yards. Center fielder Melky Cabrera drove in a run in the second inning with his fifth triple of the season, and second baseman Robinson Cano singled in a run in the sixth. But after Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie exited the game after six innings of work, the Yankees notched only one hit against four Orioles relievers and lost their second straight game.
"We had men at third base with less than two outs a couple times, but unfortunately we couldn't bring them in," New York manager Joe Torre said. "Unfortunately, that does happen during the course of the year. We've been hot and doing all the right things in that regard but just couldn't get it done today." The stifled offense ruined a solid outing from starter Andy Pettitte, who picked up his seventh loss of the season. Pettitte was beat up by three hits and two walks in Baltimore's three-run third inning, but faced the minimum 12 batters over his final four frames. Pettitte is now 6-7 on the season, and has a 5.84 ERA in June and July. "You feel bad because that's pretty much been the story for Pet this year," shortstop Derek Jeter said. "He seems to go out and pitch well, and we haven't scored too many runs for him. We'd like to, but it just didn't happen." After the game, though, the veteran lefty put much of the blame on his own shoulders. "It cost us the game," Pettitte said of his troubles during the Orioles' third-inning rally. "It was terrible. I hate it that it was such a battle for me again. It's just not easy for me at all. I made a lot of mistakes in the middle of the zone, and they hurt me." Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar added an insurance tally with a solo home run off right-handed reliever Scott Proctor in the eighth inning, but it wouldn't matter. Yankees hitters mustered only seven hits, their second straight quiet game from the plate after opening up for 13 hits in each of their previous five games. Before the loss, the Yankees completed the final two innings of a game that was suspended June 28 due to rain. They hung on win, 8-7, but couldn't use the momentum to propel them past the streaking Orioles, who have now won five straight games. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez celebrated his 32nd birthday, but went 0-for-2 with two walks to stay at 499 career home runs. Oriole Park at Camden Yards sold out for only the second time this year, and flashbulbs littered the field each time the All-Star stepped to the plate in search of No. 500. "I felt like I was pitching to Barry Bonds or something," Guthrie said. "He's obviously deserving, and he's got a great career that he's just in the middle of. It's fun, but you don't want to be part of history. You just go and attack him and give him a chance. If he beats you, you tip your cap to him. A lot of times he does beat you. That's how good of a player he is." Rodriguez wasn't able to beat Guthrie, however, and neither was the majority of his teammates. Guthrie improved to 5-1 when he lasts past the sixth inning, and earned the praise of several Yankees hitters. "Especially in close games, you've got to find ways to push runs across," said Jeter, who went 0-for-4 Friday. "But he pitched well, and he pitched well that last time he faced us. He has a good arm."
Geremy Bass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.