BALTIMORE (AP) — The struggle of Brian Matusz continues. As a result, the Baltimore Orioles’ winning streak is over.
Matusz yielded three home runs, and the New York Yankees beat the Orioles 8-3 Sunday night to earn a split of a day-night doubleheader.
In the first game, rookie Zach Britton allowed four hits over seven innings to lead Baltimore to a 2-0 victory and extend the Orioles’ season-high winning streak to six.
But the run ended in the nightcap under a barrage of five home runs, including two by Curtis Granderson, who took over the major league lead in homers (38) and RBIs (107).
Matusz (1-7) surrendered six runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
He has lost seven straight decisions and is carrying an unsightly 9.07 ERA.
“He got some balls elevated and had some trouble keeping the ball in the park,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Brian is capable of better, but there’s not much margin for error there.”
Matusz began the season on the disabled list, returned on June 1 and was sent to the minors at the end of the month. Since his return, he’s given up 17 earned runs in three starts.
“I’ve made some progress,” he said. “There were signs of good changeups today, but not being able to make the 0-2 pitch or the two-strike pitch has been hurting me, especially to good hitters in tough situations. Got to be able to overcome that and keep working.”
The second game was tied at 3 before New York hit three straight homers in a four-run sixth. After Robinson Cano connected with a man on, Nick Swisher chased Matusz with a drive to left. Andruw Jones greeted Chris Jakubauskas with another home run, marking the first time the Yankees hit three successive homers since May 20, 2009, against Baltimore.
New York won despite playing without Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
In the opener, Jeter played in 2,402nd game with New York, breaking a tie with Mickey Mantle for most in a Yankees uniform.
But he fouled a ball off his right knee in the third inning, and although he finished the game, he was unavailable in the nightcap.
Rodriguez was rested with a sore left thumb.
“We just felt it wasn’t in our best interest in playing him either,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Despite the power surge, Girardi hates the idea of being without Jeter and Rodriguez.
“We need to get them healthy,” he said. “It is somewhat of a concern.”
Ivan Nova (14-4) gave up three runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings, striking out seven and walking two. The right-hander has won seven straight starts and is 10-0 in 11 outings since June 3.
Baltimore led 2-0 before Granderson hit his first homer. He has 11 career two-homer games, including four this season.
In the first game, Britton allowed four singles, struck out five and walked one before being pulled after throwing a career-high 120 pitches. It was a vivid contrast from his previous start against the Yankees, when he yielded nine runs and got only one out in a 17-3 loss July 30.
“I wasn’t thinking about getting revenge or anything,” Britton said. “You have to have a short memory.”
Britton (8-9) has given up only one run over 12 innings since coming off the disabled list (strained left shoulder) on Aug. 22.
Before going on the DL, he surrendered 23 runs in three starts.
“Not only was it like a break for me physically, but mentally, too,” Britton said of his time off.
The game was scoreless until the seventh, when Nick Markakis doubled and Vladimir Guerrero singled. Baltimore added a run in the eighth when Mark Reynolds led off with his third hit and scored on a two-out single by J.J. Hardy.
Jim Johnson pitched a perfect eighth and Kevin Gregg worked the ninth for his 19th save, getting Rodriguez to hit into a double play after giving up a one-out single to Mark Teixeira, who had three hits.
Cano went 0 for 3, ending his 17-game hitting streak. He had also hit in 18 consecutive games at Camden Yards.
The Yankees failed to get a runner past first base in their first shutout loss since June 13.
Bartolo Colon (8-9) gave up two runs and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings. He had a two-hitter through six innings before faltering.
He has lost his last three starts and is 2-6 in his last eight decisions.
But he considered this effort to be a breakthrough.
“I feel very happy. Thank God that everything is back together,” he said through a translator. “We’ll see how far we’re going to go.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)