The New York Yankees have built the largest cushion of any division leader, but they are now in the midst of a slump and could be without their RBI leader for a few games.
Mark Teixeira may not be available Tuesday night when the Yankees continue their series against the Baltimore Orioles.
New York (60-42) saw its AL East lead shrink to 6 1/2 games after losing 5-4 to second-place Baltimore on Monday. The defeat was the Yankees third straight and eighth in 11 games.
With the large division lead, New York's slump may not be too concerning, but the latest injury might be. After the Yankees lost Alex Rodriguez to a broken hand last week, Teixeira re-aggravated a wrist injury in the seventh inning Monday and eventually left the game.
Teixeira, who leads the team with 78 RBIs and has 20 homers, said he originally hurt the wrist Sunday. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday.
"It's a big concern," manager Joe Girardi told MLB.com. "He's a huge part of our lineup and hopefully it's only a couple of days, but we'll find out more tomorrow."
Baltimore (54-49), which has won two straight after a 1-5 stretch, has scored five or more runs in four of its last five games with Nick Markakis leading the way. He is hitting .381 over his last 10 games, and had three hits with two RBIs on Monday.
"We know where we stand, who we're up against,'' Markakis said. "We just got to take it day by day.''
The Orioles will try to keep things going against Yankees starter Ivan Nova (10-4, 4.08 ERA). The right-hander walked a career-high six in five innings against Seattle on Wednesday, giving up two runs and not getting a decision in a 5-2 win.
Nova is 3-1 with a 4.50 ERA in seven career starts versus the Orioles. He's faced them three times this season, allowing five runs in each of the last two.
Matt Wieters is 7 for 16 with three homers against Nova, including 5 for 8 with two homers and two doubles in 2012.
The Orioles will counter with Chris Tillman (3-1, 1.66), who has pitched well since being called up from the minors. He allowed two runs in six innings of a 6-2 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday, the third time in four starts he gave up two or fewer.
"I think confidence has a lot to play into it," Tillman said. "It comes down to getting my delivery right. I put a lot of hard work in during the offseason and coming in, so I'm happy with where I'm at right now."
The right-hander is 1-3 with an 8.71 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees, allowing 17 runs and 26 hits in 11 innings over three outings in the Bronx.
New York second baseman Robinson Cano, 0 for 13 in his last three games, is 7 for 11 off Tillman.