Sonny Gray was chased in the third inning by the team with worst record in the majors, big league-loss leader Alex Cobb ended a nine-start winless streak and the Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 7-5 Wednesday.
Despite what appeared to be a midgame lecture in the dugout by third base coach Phil Nevin during a rain delay, New York (68-38) dropped 5½ games behind Boston (75-34) heading into a four-game series at Fenway Park starting Thursday. This is the first time since the leagues split into divisions in 1969 that two teams in the same division began August with a winning percentage .640 or higher, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Gleyber Torres homered twice for the Yankees, a solo drive in the second and a three-run shot in the ninth.
On an afternoon that began with a partly sunny sky, Gray left under dark clouds just before a 39-minute rain delay. He had been 3-0 against the Orioles this year and had won three straight starts for the first time in a year, giving the Yankees hope he could become consistently reliable for the first time since they acquired him from Oakland last summer.
Instead, Gray (8-8) allowed seven runs, eight hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings, raising his ERA to 5.56. He was booed as he walked off the mound and was replaced by Lance Lynn, who made his Yankees debut following his trade from Minnesota.
Lynn threw 71 pitches and allowed five hits over 4 1/3 scoreless innings, an appearance that rules him out for a start in the four-game series in Boston.
Cobb (3-14) had been 0-7 since winning at the New York Mets on June 5, losing his last five outings. He breezed against the Yankees with an early 7-1 lead, allowing one run and seven hits in six innings and stopping Baltimore’s streak of 11 consecutive road losses.
Gray started with a 1-2-3 first inning against the Orioles, who traded six veterans for prospects in recent weeks, then allowed his first five batters to reach in the second on four hits and a walk. Baltimore took a 5-0 lead on Trey Mancini’s run-scoring single, Renato Nunez’s two-run double and Tim Beckham’s two-run single.
Torres led off the bottom half with his first home run since July 1, and Giancarlo Stanton came to the plate as the tying run. But Cobb struck out Stanton, leaving the Yankees 0 for 15 with four sacrifice flies in their last 19 plate appearances with the bases full.
Mancini homered in the third, and Breyvic Valera chased Gray with a run-scoring infield hit that made it 7-1. Gray threw a called third strike past Becham just before the rain delay.
Miguel Andjuar got a based loaded-single against Mychal Givens in the eighth, but Paul Fry got pinch-hitter Neil Walker to ground into an inning-ending double play. Torres homered against Mike Wright Jr. in the ninth.
Cody Carroll, a 25-year-old right-hander obtained from the Yankees last week in the deal that sent reliever Zach Britton to New York, pitched a scoreless, one-hit seventh in his major league debut.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said of the team’s turn toward youth: “It’s a lot like building a house. I think if you demolish the house and build it with the foundation from the ground up rather than renovating it one room at a time, I think it helps in terms of the overall progress you can make.”
INF Jonathan Villar is scheduled to report to the Orioles at Texas on Thursday, two days after he was acquired from Milwaukee.
Yankees: Manager Aaron Boone said the team will not know until Thursday at the earliest whether LHP J.A. Happ will recover from hand, foot and mouth disease in time to start at Boston on Saturday.
Orioles: RHP Andrew Cashner (3-9) is scheduled to start Thursday for the Orioles and RHP Yovani Gallardo (5-1) for the Rangers.
Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (6-4) starts Thursday at Boston, which opens with LHP Brian Johnson (1-3) in place of injured ace Chris Sale.
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