NEW YORK – Aroldis Chapman gave up Pedro Severino's tiebreaking sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and the New York Yankees lost to Baltimore 4-3 Saturday after the last-place Orioles took a no-hitter into the seventh.
Joey Gallo's two-run homer in the eighth tied it at 3, and manager Aaron Boone went to his All-Star closer with the save taken out of play.
Ryan Mountcastle struck out against Chapman (5-4) leading off but reached via wild pitch. Austin Hays singled and Trey Mancini walked to load the bases, and Chapman struck out Ramón Urías before Severino's fly to deep left field easily scored Mountcastle from third.
The Yankees started the day 1 1/2 games ahead of Boston for the top AL wild card.
“These games are super important and we’re trying to win them,” Boone said. “We got held down enough today, so that’s frustrating and unfortunate, but we have a big one tomorrow we have to grab.”
Pinch-hitter Gleyber Torres ended Baltimore's unexpected no-hit bid with an RBI infield single with one out in the seventh that bounced off second baseman Jahmai Jones' glove.
Gallo snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a low line drive off right-hander Jorge López with no outs that cleared the wall in right. His 31st homer scored DJ LeMahieu, who led off the inning with New York's second hit, a 58 mph tapper that hugged the third-base line.
Cole Sulser (4-3) got the last out of the eighth and pitched a perfect ninth, striking out Torres swinging to end Baltimore's three-hitter.
Rookie right-hander Chris Ellis allowed several hard line drives but held New York without a hit over five innings in his third major league start. Tanner Scott worked a perfect sixth before running into trouble in the seventh.
Jones booted Anthony Rizzo's leadoff grounder for Baltimore's second error of the game. Scott walked Brett Gardner, then was replaced by Marcos Diplan. The right-hander retired pinch-hitter Gary Sánchez before Torres' well-placed dribbler spoiled Baltimore's bid at history.
“I think I should make that play,” Jones said. “I feel like anytime I get my ball on a glove, I should make a play, no matter where it is.”
The Orioles were trying for what would have been the record ninth no-hitter in the majors this season, topping the mark set in 1884 — the first year overhand pitching was permitted. It also would have been the second this season for the last-place Orioles after John Means threw the franchise’s first since 1991 on May 5 against Seattle.
Ellis was pulled after throwing a career-high 92 pitches. The 28-year-old allowed several hard-hit balls but none that dropped for hits. He struck out two, walked three and threw two wild pitches.
A third-round pick by the Angels in 2014, Ellis is with his seventh franchise after being claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay on Aug. 20. This was his fifth big league appearance.
“So far, it's been great, man,” Ellis said. “It really hits you. Camden Yards is awesome, man, but when you come pitch at Yankee Stadium, it's surreal. It's been a long journey to get here.”
New York hit six balls over 96 mph in the first four innings, including two by Aaron Judge. His first hard liner was 114.9 mph and was dropped by left fielder Ryan McKenna for an error. He also hit one 103.8 mph that was caught on the warning track in center.
The Yankees had won 15 of 19 thanks largely to a surging offense that averaged 5.1 runs and eight hits per game in that span.
Mancini singled with one out in the fourth inning and scored from third on Jordan Montgomery's wild pitch to Jorge Mateo.
Mancini then walked to load the bases with two outs against Montgomery in the fifth, prompting Boone to call on reliever Clay Holmes. The right-hander struck out Urías to end the fifth, then struck out the side in the sixth.
Montgomery allowed a run over 4 2/3 innings and has a 2.21 ERA in four starts since returning from the COVID-19 injured list last month.
Jones and Cedric Mullins hit consecutive doubles off Wandy Peralta leading off the seventh as part of a two-run inning. Lucas Luetge relieved and escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam to keep the lead at 3-0.
Chapman had a 1.65 ERA in 17 games since his previous loss July 4 against the Mets. Boone said the outing didn't shake his confidence that Chapman is the right man for New York in the ninth inning.
“When it started to get a little wobbly there, I felt like he was able to corral it,” Boone said. “And I think that's important moving forward.”
“It's just work,” Chapman said via interpreter. “You have to keep working at it. The goal is to keep improving every day, and that's what I focus on.”
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde credited his hitters for laying off Chapman's offspeed pitches below the strike zone.
“Besides the one Mountcastle swung at that ended up working out for us,” he said.
Orioles: OF Anthony Santander was given the day off.
Yankees: 3B Gio Urshela (left hand) sat out a third straight game.
Yankees RHP Corey Kluber (4-3, 3.61) makes his second start since missing over three months with a right shoulder strain. He allowed five runs in four innings against the Angels in his return. Baltimore will start LHP Keegan Akin (2-8, 6.90).
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