By Barry M. Bloom and Brittany Ghiroli
BALTIMORE -- If the Yankees are going to clinch home-field advantage in Tuesday's American League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, it will have to wait until the final day of the regular season on Sunday.
The Yanks lost both ends of Saturday's split day-night doubleheader to the Orioles at Camden Yards, dropping the nightcap, 4-3, when Dellin Betances, in relief of starter Luis Severino, tossed a wild pitch in the eighth inning that brought home Paul Janish with the winning run.
The Astros defeated the the D-backs in Phoenix, sending the decision on to the final day. As it's been all weekend, either a Yankees victory or Astros loss will ensure that Tuesday night's game will be played at Yankee Stadium.
"It's not what we want," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We have to come out and play good tomorrow. And that's the only thing we can do."
The Yanks just had to win one of Saturday's contests for that to be a fait accompli. But they lost the first game, 9-2. They finish the season on Sunday at Camden Yards against the Orioles, and the Astros conclude their campaign against the D-backs. If the two teams finish with 87 wins, the Astros will host the game at Minute Maid Park by virtue of a 4-3 record against the Yankees during the regular season.
Playing the spoiler is all the incentive the Orioles need.
"It's just what you're supposed to do, regardless of who you're playing. And our guys have all year," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his club putting up a competitive front. "They've never given in, and they've competed and I'm real proud of them. I know I put myself in Houston's shoes, I know how I would expect a team to play. But I think we all know that's not always the case. They ran everything they had at us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Severino draws warning: After allowing three early runs, including Nolan Reimold's leadoff homer and Manny Machado's 35th blast -- his second of the doubleheader -- the rookie Yankees starter settled down. But when Ubaldo Jimenez hit two Yankees, Severino threw over the head of Janish with one out in the fifth inning. Home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski officially warned both benches.
Janish steps up: Janish scored the winning run and the shortstop, who went 2-for-3, was also part of a heated moment in the bottom of the fifth. Janish responded to Severino's pitch near his head with a double, and he smartly navigated the bases in the eighth to put the O's on top.
"Paulie's a pro," Showalter said. "He's 31, 32. The shortstops we had in the Majors, Triple-A and Double-A, I'll put them against anybody at those three levels. Paulie can defend with anybody. He reminds you a lot of J.J. [Hardy] defensively, and that's quite a compliment. He's a baseball player. He moved up on a wild pitch that some people would be cautious on."
"I don't know what else you can ask a guy to do. He's stolen a base for us, he's played as good of defense as you can play, he helped us in the one-hole when we had a need there. And I think you are seeing a guy evolve into somebody capable of hitting in some other spots in the order. And that's kind of how you hope the process goes when you first bring him up." -- Showalter, on Machado's career year
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Needing only two wins since last Sunday to clinch a Wild Card berth and home-field advantage in Tuesday night's game, the Yankees have struggled, losing five of their past six games.
The Orioles lost a manager's challenge in the sixth inning on a wild play that involved Chris Davis. Davis hit a hard ground ball that deflected off first baseman Greg Bird straight to second baseman Rob Refsnyder, who was backing up the play. Refsnyder's throw to first was wide and got past a covering Severino, and Davis took off for second. However, catcher Brian McCann was also alertly backing up first, and his throw to shortstop Didi Gregorius beat Davis. The O's slugger attempted to dance around the tag, but second-base umpire Sam Holbrook's out call was upheld after a quick review.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: The Yankees close the regular season on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET at Camden Yards with Michael Pineda (12-9, 4.24 ERA) on the hill.
Orioles: The Orioles' Opening Day starter, Chris Tillman, will pitch the regular-season finale as well. Tillman is 10-11 with a 5.05 ERA on the season.