Once Yankees manager Joe Girardi started making walks to the mound, the Baltimore Orioles began running around the bases.
In position for a weekend sweep, New York let it slip away Sunday when a normally solid bullpen fell apart. J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones hit three-run homers in a seven-run seventh inning as Baltimore erupted to win 7-3 in a matchup of wild-card contenders.
“Any time you turn to our bullpen, you feel good about it. It just didn’t work out today,” starter Andy Pettitte said.
“They send you out there to get guys out and I gave up two hits that started a rally,” he said. “You can’t second-guess with our bullpen. We have the best bullpen in the league, in my opinion.”
Shut out on three singles Saturday, the Orioles were blanked by Pettitte for six innings before they broke loose.
Michael Morse lined a leadoff single against Pettitte to begin the comeback from a 3-0 deficit. Acquired from Seattle on Friday, he got two hits in his Baltimore debut.
Hardy’s shot against Shawn Kelley (4-2) glanced off the glove of right fielder Curtis Granderson and put the Orioles ahead 4-3. After reliever Boone Logan gave up a bunt single and walk, Jones homered to dead center field came against Joba Chamberlain.
“I’m not comfortable letting Andy go over 100 pitches. He was getting up there in pitches and they had just squared two in a row, so it was time to make the change and it didn’t work out,” Girardi said.
The seven runs matched the Orioles’ biggest inning of the season. It also tied the most allowed by the Yankees in an inning this year.
The Yankees had beaten Baltimore two in row while extending their home winning streak to six. New York had been 32-0 at home this year when leading by at least two runs, the Elias Sports Bureau said in research provided by the Yankees.
Rookie Kevin Gausman (2-3) pitched two scoreless innings after starter Wei-Yin Chen walked a career-high five on a sticky afternoon. Gausman’s other win came against the Yankees on June 28 with 4 1-3 scoreless innings.
Four Baltimore relievers combined for five shutout innings.
Brett Gardner doubled twice and drew a bases-loaded walk for the Yankees. But Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter each struck out three times and Alfonso Soriano was thrown out at first on a sensational play by charging third baseman Manny Machado.
Pettitte has beaten Baltimore 29 times in the regular season and playoffs, and seemed to be cruising through six innings. He had walked none, worked around five singles and wasn’t in trouble.
“We were a little flat. We could all see it, we could all feel it,” Hardy said.
Morse and Danny Valencia opened the seventh with sharp singles, and Girardi made the first of his several trips to change pitchers. Girardi said he wasn’t comfortable asking setup man David Robertson to try to get six outs ahead of closer Mariano Rivera.
“Our bullpen has been good all year. It’s not going to be perfect,” Girardi said.
Matt Wieters greeted Kelley with an RBI single. Hardy, who broke an 0-for-13 rut with an earlier single, hit the first pitch for his 24th home run. Granderson got his glove on the opposite-field drive as he ran back and reached above the fence.
“I couldn’t tell the exact angle of where it landed, but I made a little bit of contact with the ball and a lot of contact with the wall,” Granderson said. “It’s not a routine play but a chance to make an exciting one.”
Jones connected for his 28th homer.
Soriano hit an RBI single in the third. The Yankees scored two more in the fourth on Gardner’s walk and a sacrifice fly by Jeter.
NOTES: Jeter moved past Bernie Williams for sixth on the Yankees’ career RBIs list with 1,258. ... Baltimore is 8-7 against the Yankees this year. ... Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez returned after missing a day with flu-like symptoms. His sun shades fell off while he chased Valencia’s early infield single ... Yankees RHP Phil Hughes (4-13, 4.91) pitches Monday at home against White Sox LHP Jose Quintana (7-4, 3.66). ... Former Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt was joined by Girardi behind home plate for a pregame ceremony to raise awareness during World Alzheimer’s Month. The record-breaking coach stepped down in April 2012 because of early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.