NEW YORK – Adam Jones knew it. He cost the Orioles the game.
Jones didn’t hide, didn’t make excuses. He owned up to it.
Jones dropped a catchable fly ball with the bases loaded in the seventh inning on Friday night, and three runs scored.
“Missed it. Trust me. Wish I could do it again, but hey, I missed it,” Jones said.
His error on Vernon Wells’ fly ball was followed an inning later by the Orioles hitting into their first triple play in 17 years.
It was fitting that on a bitterly cold night in the Bronx, the Orioles lost a bizarre 5-2 game to the New York Yankees before an announced crowd of 35,033 chilled fans at Yankee Stadium.
There were actually many thousand fewer than that to watch the teams’ first meeting in exactly six months. Then, the Orioles lost in five taut games to New York in the American League Division Series.
Jones was just 2-for-23 then. In two of those games, CC Sabathia shut down the Orioles, and he did again on Friday. But, his dominance was a mere footnote to Jones’ error.
“You could say it’s rain, you could say it’s cold, you could say anything, wind, you could say whatever you want. I was there. Didn’t catch it. Cost my team the game,” Jones said.
“Trust me. It’s quite frustrating. To make a mistake like that, big in the game, late in the game. You cost your team a game. It’s not a good feeling, but the good thing about baseball you show up tomorrow with a better plan. Some days you’re the hero, some days you’re the goat.”
On this unbearably cold night, Sabathia ran his lifetime regular season record to 17-4 against the Orioles (5-5) by allowing two runs, one unearned on eight hits in eight innings. He struck out nine and walked none.
Sabathia was bailed out in the eighth by the triple play.
With Alexi Casilla at second and Nick Markakis at first, Manny Machado hit a short liner to second that dropped sharply. Robinson Cano tossed to shortstop Jayson Nix for one out. Nix threw to third to get Casilla for the second out, and then third baseman Kevin Youkilis threw to first and Machado was tagged out in a rundown.
“We’re down by three. I should have stayed at first. It was just in the heat of the moment, things that you don’t think about at that moment. It just happens,” Machado said.
It was the first triple play the Orioles hit into since Apr. 3, 1996.
Showalter wasn’t blaming Machado for the mental error, not after so many heady plays.
“The two lead runners made the right play. It's a line drive short-hop. You can't go anywhere because if he catches it, then he does get multiple outs. We just made a mistake on the trail runner trying to get a little over-aggressive, a young player. But Manny's one of the reasons why we were in that game," Showalter said.
While Sabathia (2-1) was his usual self, Miguel Gonzalez, who had a most successful first year pitching at Yankee Stadium, continued a disturbing pattern for Orioles starters when he threw far too many pitches, especially in the early innings.
Gonzalez (1-1) was charged with the loss. He allowed a seventh inning leadoff walk to Francisco Cervelli and then was removed. Against Troy Patton, Brett Gardner bunted Cervelli to second, and with two outs, Youkilis walked and Patton hit Travis Hafner to load the bases.
Pedro Strop relieved Patton, and after Vernon Wells hit a fly ball to deep center, it looked as if the Orioles would get out of the inning without a bruise, but Jones, drifted back and dropped the fly. Three runs scored.
Gonzalez pitched six-plus innings, allowing three runs, one of them unearned. He walked five and struck out four. Gonzalez admitted to difficulty pitching in the raw conditions.
“First time out doing it, it’s April, it was a little tough. The grip was tough to handle but no excuses. I battled. I did my best. I tried to keep my team in the game,” Gonzalez said.
The Orioles scored a run in the third on Machado’s RBI single, and the Yankees (5-4) scored a run in the third on Youkilis’ RBI single and in the fifth on a run-scoring single by Cano.
Baltimore tied it in the seventh when Matt Wieters led off by grounding to third baseman Youkilis, who booted it. Wieters moved to second on a balk by Sabathia and scored on a one-out single by J.J. Hardy.
Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his second save.
NOTES: Steve Pearce went 0-for-3. Orioles designated hitters are now 1-for-33. … Jones’ nine-game hitting streak was snapped.