Yankees loss to Orioles hurts as Dellin Betances gives up lead in third inning of relief

Home plate umpire Gerry Davis (r.) ejects manager Joe Girardi from Wednesday's 5-3 loss.Patrick McDermott/Getty Images Home plate umpire Gerry Davis (r.) ejects manager Joe Girardi from Wednesday’s 5-3 loss.

BALTIMORE — The Yankees’ official tragic number in the American League East is 36, but Wednesday’s loss may have been the one that knocked the Bombers out of the division race for good.

Dellin Betances gave up the tying run in the eighth — his third inning of work — before Adam Jones drilled a go-ahead three-run homer off Shawn Kelley later in the inning, dooming the Bombers to a 5-3 loss at Camden Yards. The abbreviated two-game sweep knocked the Yankees eight games behind the first-place Orioles with 43 games remaining.

“That’s where we are?” Kelley said when informed of the eight-game spread. “Well, I think we were more looking at the second wild-card spot. That’s a little bit better number that seems a little more achievable at this point.”

The Yankees are 3.5 games behind the Tigers for the second AL wild card.

Kelley was the only one vocalizing the Yankees’ bleak situation as his teammates insisted the division was still within reach.

The Yankees and Orioles will meet eight times in September, but it might be too late if the Yankees — losers of four straight — continue their season-long up-and-down trend. “We play these guys how many more times? Eight times? There you go,” Derek Jeter said. “We play the people that are in front of us. You worry about things you don’t have control over. We have control over what happens. We’re not making it easy on ourselves, but we still have control of it.”

Added Francisco Cervelli: “We’re going to fight. This is not done yet.”

Michael Pineda made a solid return from the disabled list, then watched Betances fire two scoreless innings to get the game to the eighth. But the Yankees pushed their luck by leaving the hard-throwing All-Star in for a third inning as Jonathan Schoop — a Yankee-killer this year if there ever was one — took Betances deep with one out in the eighth to tie the game. “It was a slider that didn’t do much,” Betances said. “It was a terrible pitch and he put a good swing on it.”

Kelley relieved Betances with one out, but after retiring Nick Hundley, he gave up a single by Nick Markakis before walking Chris Davis. Jones stepped up and drilled Kelley’s first offering — an 83-mph slider — over the wall in left-center. “We didn’t get it done,” Kelley said. “We didn’t take care of business.”

Girardi doesn't hesitate getting in Davis' face.Joy R. Absalon/USA Today Sports Girardi doesn’t hesitate getting in Davis’ face.

Girardi wasn’t around to see Betances blow the lead or Kelley blow the game as the manager was ejected in the seventh when Stephen Drew was called out for running out of the baseline.

“I was right,” Girardi said.

Girardi said before the game that he hoped to get five or six innings from Pineda, then hand a lead to his well-rested bullpen. He got his wish, although the results were far from ideal. Pineda made a successful — albeit abbreviated — return from the disabled list, holding the Orioles to one run over five innings. The big righty was perfect through four frames before allowing a run on two hits in the fifth, but Girardi lifted him after only 67 pitches. “He thought he started to get the ball up a little bit; 75 pitches or whatever in Triple-A and 70 pitches here, there’s a different intensity level,” Girardi said. “We just thought he was done.”

Cervelli’s two-run homer to left center off Chris Tillman in the third gave the Yanks a 2-1 lead.

Betances allowed a leadoff single before striking out the side in the sixth, then tossed a scoreless seventh to hold the one-run cushion. David Robertson was warmed up before the eighth, but Betances went back out for the eighth having thrown 24 pitches. “I liked the way Dellin was throwing and Robby’s not a guy that gives you a ton of multiple innings,” Girardi said. “I thought I’d let him face him and it didn’t work out.”

The Yankees tried to rally against Zach Britton in the ninth, but managed only one run before Drew — who represented the tying run — grounded out to first to end it.

“We’ve got to go to Tampa and play well and put this behind us,” Girardi said. “We’ve got to start winning series again. We have not won the last two series and we’ve put ourselves in a little bit of a hole.”

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