Two collisions at home plate involving New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli were the only highlights of the team's 10th inning loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.
The spirited Cervelli almost single-handedly won the game by blocking the plate to save game-tying runs in consecutive innings before Scott Proctor surrendered a walk and two singles, the last which gave the Orioles a 5-4 win in Camden Yards.
Cervelli's heroics were in vain and probably left the catcher in a lot of pain.
The Yankees were clinging to a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning when centerfielder Curtis Granderson fielded Vladimir Guerrero's hit and threw a strike to second baseman Robinson Cano, who fired a perfect throw to Cervelli at the plate. Cervelli didn't budge as he was bulldozed by Nick Markakis, ala Rose-Fosse. The catcher went flying, but held on to the ball to preserve the lead.
In the following inning, Granderson caught the ball and cut down Mark Reynolds at the plate, in an almost identical play, with another great tag by Cervelli. Robert Andino followed with an RBI single to tie the game at 4.
Andino would deliver the decisive hit in the 10th, singling home Nolan Reimold from second base with one out.
Yankees starter Ivan Nova (15-4) kept his consecutive win streak of eight straight starts intact but got a no-decision. He didn't have his best stuff but was able to get out of trouble in the fourth and fifth innings and left the game in the sixth, after allowing five hits and three runs. He threw 97 pitches.
The Yankees appeared to have the momentum with Cervelli's two clutch plays but couldn't hang on.
It's a sure bet the Yankees are glad they won't see the Orioles anymore this season. The last two series were marred by weather, scheduling and home-run controversies including an 11 p.m. (?) start time after a four-hour rain delay on Tuesday night and playing in a monsoon on Wednesday. They might want to change their name to the Baltimore Ducks.
Now they lose two in a row to the pesky club.