Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Poisonous Pen

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Poisonous Pen

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- All Shawn Kelley, Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan could hope as they left Yankee Stadium was that their collective failure Sunday doesn't result in the defeat the Yankees regret most once this six-team AL wild-card competition comes to an end later this month.

Kelley and Chamberlain gave up three-run homers to J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones, respectively, as the Orioles scored all seven of their runs in the seventh inning of a 7-3 win that prevented the Yankees from sweeping them. The bullpen's abysmal performance ruined a fourth straight solid start by Andy Pettitte, who left with a 3-0 lead, two on and no one out in the seventh.

The Orioles' comeback moved Baltimore back ahead of the Yankees by half a game in the wild-card standings and prevented the Yankees from inching closer toward Tampa Bay. The Yankees could've cut the Rays' lead on them for the second wild-card spot to three games because Oakland completed a three-game sweep of Tampa Bay on Sunday.

"We're going for a sweep against a team that we're right there, neck-and-neck with," Kelley said. "So it's a tough one to swallow and it's completely on me for those pitches right there. I've got to find a way to get [Matt] Wieters and Hardy out and get us in the dugout with the same lead."

Prior to Sunday's debacle, the Yankees' bullpen had been one of the primary reasons they were able to gain ground in the AL wild- card race recently. Before Baltimore's seventh-inning eruption, Yankees relievers had baseball's best ERA since Aug. 16, just 1.05, as well as a 3-0 record and five saves.

Pettitte acknowledged he started to feel fatigued by the seventh inning Sunday because it was so humid. Joe Girardi replaced Pettitte with Kelley because Pettitte's pitch count (93) was near his limit (100), and the 41-year-old lefty allowed hard-hit, back-to-back singles to left fielder Mike Morse and designated hitter Danny Valencia to start the seventh.

"Any time you turn it over to our bullpen you feel good about it," Pettitte said. "So I know if I'm in any trouble late in the game, he's been going to the bullpen. …

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