NEW YORK – CC Sabathia left the mound with a two-run lead and the bases loaded with two outs in the fifth inning, muttering to himself after hitting Chris Davis with a pitch.
Sabathia's knee held up, but the New York Yankees' lead did not. Wearing a new, tighter brace on his surgically repaired right knee, Sabathia made his first start since Aug. 2.
His strong start in his return from the disabled list was undone by Stephen Drew's fielding misplays, and Steve Pearce's tiebreaking, eighth-inning home run in the Baltimore Orioles 5-3 victory over the Yankees on Wednesday night.
"We gave them the first three runs they got," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Baltimore had lost 15 of 18 and faded from postseason contention before winning the final two in this three-game series. New York remained 1½ games behind AL East-leading Toronto, which opens a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night.
Drew failed to cleanly field a grounder to second base in the first inning, eliminating the chance for a double play and leading to Baltimore's first run. He allowed two runs to score in the fifth, tying the game 3-all, when he failed to catch Chase Headley's throw on what should have been an inning-ending forceout.
"If I had it to do over again, I think I would just try to catch it with one hand," Drew said of Headley's throw. "It's tough for me to swallow."
Carlos Beltran homered in the first inning off Ubaldo Jimenez and hit a two-run single in the third for a 3-1 lead, but the Yankees got only one more hit.
Jimenez allowed four hits in seven innings and struck out eight.