New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi was frustrated that Jeremy Guthrie hit another one of his batters. Guthrie was just flat-out embarrassed.
A sullen Guthrie allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings and then shouldered the responsibility for the Orioles' 8-3 loss Wednesday night before an announced 17,248 at Camden Yards.
The loss, pretty much a formality after the Yankees built a 6-0 lead off Guthrie by the top of the third inning, dropped the Orioles to 4-17 and ended their brief foray with winning at two games in a row.
"I'm embarrassed by the way the game started, I was embarrassed by the way the game finished. I'm embarrassed that we had to run the bullpen out there for 4 1/3 innings because I was unable to keep the pitch count down and get people out," said Guthrie, who started his comments before reporters even asked him a question.
"I'm apologetic to fans who pay to come and watch the Orioles and watch us lose, in this case, because of me. I'm apologetic to teammates for the inability to help them win a game in five starts. I'm apologetic to [ Jorge Posada] if he has to miss any time for [my] yanking a pitch and hitting him."
Guthrie drilled the Yankees catcher on the right knee with the first pitch of the second inning. Posada stayed in and later scored one of three New York runs in the inning, but he was removed before the bottom of the second and later diagnosed with a right knee bruise.
The Yankees did not retaliate, but Girardi made it clear that he wasn't pleased. It was the New York manager who yelled at Guthrie during a spring training game after the Orioles right-hander had plunked Mark Teixeira and Francisco Cervelli. That resulted in some hollers from the Orioles bench later in the spring aimed at Mariano Rivera when the Yankees closer hit Felix Pie and knocked him out of the game.
"I don't think he's doing it on purpose, but he hits a lot of people," Girardi said. "That's frustrating for us. We know he's going to pitch inside, and I don't have a problem pitching inside. What do you expect, me to be happy that our guys are getting plunked? I'm frustrated by it. I wish he had better command in there."
When told of Girardi's comments, Guthrie said: "I wish I had better command. If I did, I think I would pitch much, much better and we'd all see better results. … The inability to command every single pitch, I'm frustrated by it as well. It's part of the game. Like I said, I'm apologetic for the fact that if [Posada] were to miss some time, that would be a shame that it was a pitch that got away from me that had that result. But ultimately, I'm going out there and trying to compete. I don't ever want to give up free base runners because I can't afford those, as we've seen throughout my career."
Guthrie hit nine batters in 200 innings last season, but five of them were Yankees. He hit seven batters in 2008 in 190 2/3 innings, and three of those were Yankees. That means that eight of the 16 batters he has hit over the past two seasons have been wearing Yankees uniforms.
"I'm not calling the league or doing anything like that; I just don't want to see our guys get hit," Girardi said. "I don't want to see their guys get hit either. I don't want to see someone lose time because of getting plunked. That's not what you want."
Guthrie, who went at least six innings and allowed three earned runs or fewer in his first four outings, surrendered seven runs (six earned) on six hits, a walk and the hit batter through 4 2/3 innings Wednesday night. Of the eight base runners he allowed, seven of them scored, including one inherited by long reliever Mark Hendrickson, who was knocked around for one run and five hits in one inning.
"If I break the game down, a lot of quality pitches were hit because I was behind in the count almost 2-0 in every instance other than Nick Swisher," Guthrie said.
Though Guthrie said he was not aware of it, he did appear to be using a different arm slot in the early going. In an effort to throw off hitters, Guthrie has experimented with a near sidearm delivery at times, but it appeared he was doing it much earlier and much more frequently Wednesday night.
"I thought the first couple of innings, he was showing a different style, a different delivery for him," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "Probably the best that he pitched was the third and the fourth, but the first two innings, I thought right out of the chute he was throwing from a lower arm slot and it just didn't seem like that was comfortable for him, and it wasn't working for him."
Yankees starter CC Sabathia was clearly not at his best, allowing three earned runs on 11 hits and two walks over 7 2/3 innings. But he was plenty good enough on a night when the Orioles went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Nick Markakis had three hits, including his first home run, and Miguel Tejada, Garrett Atkins and Cesar Izturis also had multi-hit games for the Orioles in the losing effort.