Rodriguez tries again to become the latest member of the 500-home run club as the Yankees continue their weekend series Saturday night against the Orioles at Camden Yards.
The Yankees split a doubleheader of sorts Friday night, winning the completion of a suspended game from June 28 8-7 before losing the regularly scheduled contest 4-2.
Rodriguez grounded out in his only at-bat after the suspended game was resumed, then went 0-for-2 with two walks and a run scored in the loss on his 32nd birthday.
He remains one home run away from becoming the second player this season and the 22nd all-time to reach 500. Rodriguez would also become the youngest player to achieve the milestone, surpassing Jimmie Foxx (32 years, 338 days).
Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie pitched six strong innings Friday night to win his third straight start before four relievers finished up.
“You don’t want to be the guy to give it up, but at the same time you want to attack him,” Guthrie said of facing Rodriguez. “He’s so hot right now, you have to execute pitches. If not, he can do damage.”
New York (55-48), which has lost two straight after winning six in a row, went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position after going 0-for-12 in Thursday’s 7-0 loss at Kansas City.
“We had men on base with two out and couldn’t bring them in,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “We’re having good at-bats. We’re just not getting hits.”
Torre’s team has been held in check the last two games after scoring 70 runs and averaging 15.3 hits during the six-game win streak.
The loss dropped New York eight games behind AL East-leading Boston and five games in back of Cleveland for the wild card.
Baltimore, which hasn’t won eight straight at Camden Yards since July 28-Aug. 9, 2004, is 5-2 against the Yankees this season.
One month ago it seemed a foregone conclusion that the Orioles would finish with a losing record for the 10th straight year. Their 19-14 record under interim manager Dave Trembley, though, has put them in position to potentially end that run.
Shortstop Miguel Tejada returned to Baltimore’s lineup Friday for the first time since June 28 after missing time with a fractured left wrist. He went hitless in five at-bats.
Roger Clemens (3-4, 3.72 ERA) looks to continue his run of solid outings for New York. The 24-year veteran has been sharp lately, pitching effectively in four of his last five starts. He was in complete control Monday in a 9-2 win at Kansas City, allowing two runs and four hits in seven innings while walking none and striking out three.
The Orioles handed Clemens a 4-0 loss at Camden Yards on June 27, reaching him for four runs and seven hits in six innings.
Clemens, though, is 22-13 with a 3.48 ERA in 50 career starts against Baltimore.
The Orioles’ Brian Burres (4-4, 4.33) looks to rebound from back-to-back losses. The left-hander has struggled in his last two starts, allowing 11 runs and 15 hits in 7 1-3 innings.
He has also surrendered four runs or more in three of his last four starts after doing that only once in his first seven outings.
Burres has no record and a 5.40 ERA in three career relief appearances against the Yankees.