One mistake costs Guthrie vs. Yanks
Three-run homer in fourth inning spoils otherwise strong start
NEW YORK -- Following his worst outing of the season, which came on Wednesday -- and a mini-controversy regarding his penchant for hitting Yankees -- Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie stood under the bright New York spotlight from the get-go on Monday night.
And while the Orioles right-hander shined for the better part of seven innings, it was a 1-0 pitch to unlikely hero -- and No. 9 hitter -- Randy Winn that erased any chance of Guthrie getting his elusive first win inside the concrete walls of the new Yankee Stadium.
Instead, Guthrie was left on the wrong end of Monday's 4-1, series-opening loss to the Yankees in front of 41,571. And inside the visitors' clubhouse -- long after the field's lights had dimmed -- the loss looked frustratingly familiar to Guthrie, who fell to 0-4 in six starts this season.
"If he keeps throwing the ball like that and against a lineup that's as good as their lineup, he's going to be back on track to where he was before [Wednesday's] outing," catcher Matt Wieters said of Guthrie, who held the Bronx Bombers' first six batters to one hit in 21 combined at-bats.
Noting Guthrie's relaxed demeanor on the mound -- a stark contrast to Wednesday's over-amped style -- Wieters said the right-hander's stuff was worthy of a win.
"His tempo was good all night," Wieters said. "Outside of one inning, I thought he threw the ball outstanding."
But that one inning would prove to be Guthrie's undoing.
After allowing a leadoff single to Alex Rodriguez in the fourth, Guthrie yielded a two-out RBI single to Nick Swisher, who had three of the Yankees' six hits off Guthrie. Brett Gardner followed with a soft liner to center field, and Winn snapped a homerless drought of 491 at-bats with a three-run shot over the right-center-field fence. Winn entered the game batting .077 with no RBIs this year, but he squared up Guthrie's 1-0 fastball for what proved to be the game's decisive blast.
"You have to keep the ball in the ballpark from the No. 9 hitter; we didn't do that," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "On the other side of the coin, you have to get some runs on the board, and we didn't get enough."
The Orioles' offense against opposing starter CC Sabathia left little breathing room for Guthrie. The O's lone run came when Wieters sent a 2-2 pitch over the right-field fence to open the second inning.
Sabathia retired the last six batters he faced and completed eight innings of one-run ball for his second successive win over Baltimore. He has allowed four earned runs over 15 2/3 innings against the Orioles this season and is 11-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 16 career starts against them.
"I felt that at our place [Wednesday], he was able to throw to only one side of the plate," Ty Wigginton said of Sabathia. "Tonight, he was able to throw to both sides. He threw his changeup when he needed to and dropped his breaking ball. He didn't really have his breaking ball [last time out]."
Despite reaching base in six of Sabathia's eight innings, the Orioles couldn't get to the big lefty, going 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and stranding six baserunners total.
"I thought our approach was outstanding," Trembley said. "I've never seen Sabathia with so many two- and three-ball counts. He pitched from behind, but he made pitches when he had to."
The same could be said for Guthrie, who rebounded in the fifth inning and sent the Yankees down, 1-2-3. Outside of the fourth inning, he allowed just two hits to the defending World Series champions.
"He's a little different this year than he was last year," Swisher said of Guthrie. "His fastball is moving a little more, his changeup moves a little more. He's got a good breaking ball now."
Still, Guthrie found himself on the wrong end of Monday's loss, outdueled by another tough intradivision pitcher and again a victim of poor run support. In six starts, the Orioles have scored nine runs while Guthrie is in the game, a stretch of 37 2/3 innings.
Guthrie says it's something he doesn't worry about and that it's out of his control. But given how much better he has pitched than last season, it's a disappointing number nonetheless.
"Overall, I have consistently felt like I've had good stuff from start one all the way through this start," Guthrie said. "So, that's a real positive for me, and that's what I continue to build on."
The loss dropped the Orioles to 7-19 on the season and snapped the club's season-high three-game winning streak.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.