NEW YORK — Talented reliever Pedro Strop and the Baltimore Orioles built an incredible streak this summer with a big run in close games.
When the calendar suddenly turned to September, they lost their grip.
Strop lost the strike zone and sure-handed shortstop J.J. Hardy’s bases-loaded error let New York complete a seventh-inning comeback as the Yankees stung Baltimore, 4-3, Saturday, restoring their American League East lead to three games.
The streaking Orioles had won a team-record 13 straight one-run decisions.
“A lot of people bend, but don’t break,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s not one of those things that we’re going to dwell on. This could have been. That should have been. That would have been.
“We understand that. These guys will turn the page,” he said.
Shut down all afternoon, the struggling Yankees rallied for three runs in the seventh.
Newly promoted Eduardo Nunez hit an RBI single with two outs that chased Wei-Yin Chen (12-8) and made it 3-2. Strop walked Ichiro Suzuki and then threw two quick strikes to Derek Jeter before walking him, forcing home the tying run.
“I didn’t have my stuff that I usually bring,” Strop said. “I don’t feel my command was that good to get it done.”
Nick Swisher followed with a hard, one-hop grounder that ate up Hardy, who leads major league shortstops in fielding percentage, and the Yankees took the lead.
“I think he’s the best shortstop in the league. I do,” Showalter said. “I don’t even think twice about it.”
The Yankees won for only the fourth time in 11 games, but lost another power bat when Curtis Granderson left after two innings because of tightness in his right hamstring.