Orioles starter Jake Arrieta, center, flanked by manager Buck… (US Presswire photo )
NEW YORK — The Orioles knew heading into their four-game, three-day series with the New York Yankees in the Bronx that it would be draining one.
Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Yankees -- the Orioles' ninth loss in 10 tries this season against their American League East nemesis -- was probably the easiest to suffer through. And it lasted 3 hours, 1 minute and featured Orioles starter Jake Arrieta's painfully issuing a career-high six walks.
It was that kind of trip to New York, one that ended a terrible, 7-20 July on a dismal note.
"For me, it was just a really bad series," said shortstop J.J. Hardy, who was hitless in 17 at-bats in the four games and made errors Saturday and Sunday. "First couple of games, I hit some balls hard and didn't get any hits out of them. These last two games have just been games to forget about and move on."
The Orioles lost three straight here, Sunday's walkfest and Saturday's day-night doubleheader in which their two starting pitchers combined to give up 16 runs (11 earned) in 42/3 innings. The Orioles lost the doubleheader, 25-6, with those games lasting a combined 6 hours, 26 minutes.
"It was a long day. It's got to be up there," Hardy said of the 8-3 and 17-3 losses Saturday. "I can't remember other games that went that way."
The only one the Orioles (42-63) won was Friday's opener, which was punctuated by a rain delay of nearly two hours before first pitch.
"It's rough, you know," said third baseman Mark Reynolds, who was 0-for-4 on Sunday. "After winning the first game, losing both ends of the doubleheader and coming out [Sunday] and losing again. They got a good squad, and we couldn't really string anything together offensively."
The Orioles managed just two runs on five hits in six innings against Yankees right-hander Freddy Garcia (10-7). They scored first, when Robert Andino walked with one out in the third and stole second and third base before Adam Jones' RBI single.
Andino, who entered the game with two steals on the season, stole second again in the seventh. It was the first multi-steal game of his career and first three-steal day for an Oriole since Corey Patterson in 2007.
The Orioles' other run, in the sixth, also was aided by a steal. Jones singled with one out, stole second and scored on Vladimir Guerrero's single. That was the extent of the club's offense against Garcia and three relievers, including closer Mariano Rivera, who picked up his 27th save with a perfect ninth.
"What did we give up, two earned runs?" Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I think that's as much a poor indication of where we were offensively today."
The Yankees (64-42) scored all four of their runs in the fourth, three on a bases-loaded triple by Brett Gardner, who came home two batters later on a groundout by Curtis Granderson. The Yankees loaded the bases on a walk, an error by Hardy and a single.
It was the third time in four innings that Arrieta loaded the bases. He got out of jams in the first and third but couldn't do it again in the fourth.
"Pretty disappointing, simply for the fact that I was in quite a few jams, got out of a couple. In the fourth, just left that breaking ball up a little bit to Gardner," Arrieta said. "With the way things have been going, you really want to be in the ballgame in the seventh inning try to save some arms. Yeah, it's frustrating."
Arrieta (10-8) lasted just five innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits, six walks and one hit batter. He threw 106 pitches, just 59 for strikes.
"Six walks, one hit-by-pitch," Showalter said. "The runs he gave up weren't usually enough to get you beat. Not a whole lot offensively. If he can cut down on walks, then he can get a little deeper in games. He'd be a lot more valuable starting pitcher for us."
Showalter has been stressing to Arrieta all season that he needs to throw more strikes, work quicker and command his fastball better or he is going to continue to leave games early. Arrieta has gone more than five innings just once in his past seven starts.
"He had some counts way in his favor, and then he walked somebody," Showalter said. "That was the most frustrating part -- the tempo. He's just carrying too good stuff to get that deep in counts with people. It's been going on for a while now."
Arrieta said it's simply a matter of not putting away hitters -- and he is working on it.
"I definitely don't think there's any regression.
It comes down to making pitches," Arrieta said. "When I did have guys, with the chance to put some guys away, I just didn't do it. Didn't hit some spots, and that's kind of what it comes down to, not making pitches when a big situation arises and a big pitch is needed."
The Orioles needed something Sunday. They came out exceptionally flat, perhaps because of the physically draining doubleheader or the emotionally draining trade deadline, which saw popular veterans Derrek Lee and Koji Uehara traded away Saturday.
Whatever the reason, the players were looking forward to their day off Monday in Kansas City before the three-game series against the Royals begins Tuesday.
"I think the off day is at a good time because we played a doubleheader [Saturday], long day. Had a day game [Sunday], so we'll get rested up [Monday], get all the new guys in here," Reynolds said. "Get up with them and hopefully they can contribute. And go down the stretch the last two months and just try to put as many wins together as we can and hopefully build on something."