Nuno stung by homers as Yanks' win streak ends
Lefty allows three blasts to O's as NY loses for first time in five games
NEW YORK -- Left-hander Vidal Nuno's struggles have been magnified at Yankee Stadium, in large part due to his inability to keep the ball out of the air.
He has allowed 13 home runs here and the Yankees are 1-6 at home when he takes the mound.
Those problems were back on display during Saturday's 6-1 loss against the Orioles. Nuno had trouble locating his fastball, and Baltimore tagged him for three home runs -- matching Nuno's career high for homers allowed.
Adam Jones started the scoring in the first inning with a two-out solo homer to left field. In the fourth, Nelson Cruz smashed a towering two-run home run to right field for his 23rd of the year (tying Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion for the Major League lead), and Steve Pearce went deep for a two-run shot in the fifth.
"It's just how I approached guys and leaving fastballs like that, sometimes I get hit hard," Nuno said. "I trusted all my stuff today, but they got to my fastball."
At times, Nuno (1-4) would appear to settle into a groove only to surrender another home run. His numbers -- 6 1/3 innings, five runs (four earned) and six hits -- were solid but not spectacular, and hardly enough to solidify his spot in the rotation.
This was an improvement over his last start this past Sunday in Oakland, where he was tagged for eight runs in three innings, but Nuno could not continue the Yankees' (39-34) four-game winning streak.
With an off-day on Thursday, New York could skip Nuno the next turn through the rotation and keep everyone on the same rest. That could also give the Yankees time to stretch long reliever Adam Warren's pitch count into that of a starter. General manager Brian Cashman suggested this past week that Warren, who has pitched this season entirely out of the bullpen, could be a possible candidate to move to the rotation if a spot opens up.
But after the game, manager Joe Girardi halted any speculation about making a change.
"Right now, this is our rotation and this is what will be," he said. "We'll just continue to plow forward, and hopefully these guys' rehabs keep going and you get some of the guys off the DL that are coming back, but right now, it is what it is."
Nuno also did not get much aid from the Yankees' offense in this game. The lone spark came on a home run by Mark Teixeira in the fourth inning, his 12th of the season and 150th as a Yankee.
Other than that, the Yankees had little answer for Orioles starter Bud Norris, who cruised through five innings and allowed just three hits and the one run. Norris (7-5) was pulled from the game while warming up to start the sixth inning after feeling tightness in his right groin.
"He felt it a little bit the inning before, and I just didn't want to take a chance," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "He's getting an extra day next time out."
Norris has been sharp during his last three starts -- limiting the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Yankees to two runs over 19 2/3 innings.
The Orioles' (38-35) bullpen filled in seamlessly and recorded four shutout innings to seal the win.
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy added another homer in the eighth inning with a solo blast off Yankees reliever Jose Ramirez. It was Hardy's first home run in his last 339 at-bats.
"Very big, especially with who they got throwing tomorrow," Hardy said of the victory. "We got [Chris] Tillman, our horse, on the mound, but [Masahiro] Tanaka is pretty good. So this is a big win for us."