Baltimore hopes left-hander Adam Loewen can continue his success against the Yankees on Friday night when the AL East rivals open a three-game series.
Poor starting pitching, a porous defense and a lack of hitting sent the Orioles (0-3) to three straight losses at Minnesota, their worst three-game start since 1995.
Baltimore starters gave up 13 earned runs and walked 11 in 14 innings in the three game while the offense hit only .192 (19-for-99) with eight runs scored.
“It’s three out of 162,” second baseman Brian Roberts said on the Orioles’ official Web site. “Nobody wants to start 0-3, but there will be some teams that start 3-0 and finish in last. You’ve just got to make the adjustments that you need to make and move on.”
A loss in this game would make the Orioles 0-4 for the first time since they opened the 1988 season with a major league-record 21-game losing streak.
A pair of injuries also have hampered Baltimore’s offense. Catcher Ramon Hernandez, who set career highs with 23 homers and 91 RBIs last season, has yet to play this season due to a strained left oblique muscle and could be headed for the disabled list. Left fielder Jay Payton already is on the 15-day DL with a strained right hamstring.
The Orioles are 25-50 against the Yankees since the start of the 2003 season including 13-25 at Yankee Stadium.
Loewen was held out of the Minnesota series so he could pitch against the Yankees (1-1), whom he was 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in four starts against last season. He struck out 23 in 24 innings versus New York.
“If you’re a pretty good left-handed pitcher, I feel like you have a better shot at the Yankees,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “If you can nullify some of their left-handers, you have a chance of getting a better shot at them. Against the righties, they hit just about anybody.”
Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez failed to deliver with the bases loaded in the eighth inning Thursday and the Yankees were unable to overcome three errors, three wild pitches and a passed ball in a 7-6 home loss to Tampa Bay.
“It was frustrating. He gave me a good pitch to hit and I didn’t do much with it,” Rodriguez said. “A fat pitch. It was right there.”
New York had made six errors in two games - three by Gold Glove shortstop Derek Jeter.
“We played sloppy. We’ve got to tighten it up a little bit,” Jeter said. “You’re not going to win too many games like that.”
Mike Mussina will make his season debut against his former team. Mussina, third on the Orioles’ wins list with 147, is 9-5 with a 4.21 ERA in 20 career starts against the team he broke into the majors with in 1991.
He went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA last season, his 15th straight with double-digit victories.
Baltimore’s Miguel Tejada is batting .419 (18-for-43) with four home runs and 13 RBIs against Mussina.
Center fielder Johnny Damon missed his second straight game Thursday with a mild strain in his right calf. The Yankees were waiting to determine whether it would be best to put him on the 15-day DL for the first time in his career.