With a stomach bug ravaging Baltimore's clubhouse, manager Buck Showalter reminded the Orioles on Tuesday to wash their hands and noted that "it seems like it's another guy every day picks it up."
By Wednesday, Showalter and third baseman Manny Machado had fallen ill, too. And now short-handed Baltimore has fallen out of first place in the AL East.
Scuffling at the plate, especially with runners in scoring position, the Orioles lost 5-0 to the New York Yankees on Wednesday. The defeat, their fourth straight and third to open this four-game series, dropped them a half-game behind Boston.
They went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and are 3 for 33 since the All-Star break. The bottom third of Baltimore's lineup, all backups forced into action, hit a combined 0 for 9 on Wednesday.
"We're major league players: Figure out a way," center fielder Adam Jones said. "There's no `Oh, we didn't have him; we didn't have him.' There's injuries and illness on every other team in baseball."
Yankees starter Michael Pineda (4-9) had six strikeouts with runners in scoring position, repeatedly wriggling out of jams to get through six innings and protect the bullpen.
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis missed his third straight game with the flu-like symptoms that put him in the hospital Sunday night. Catcher Matt Wieters was out after being hit by a pitch on his right foot Monday. Bench coach John Russell filled in for Showalter.
"When you lose that many at once it makes it pretty tough," Russell said, "and hopefully they'll start trickling back into the lineup sooner rather than later."
Yovani Gallardo (3-2) couldn't keep it close, though he didn't get much help from his defense. He allowed four runs and five hits with five strikeouts and four walks in seven innings. Gallardo is winless in his last four starts.
Leading off the bottom of the first, Brett Gardner ripped a line drive to the warning track that right fielder Joey Rickard tracked down, but the ball bounced off the inside of his glove. Jones then bobbled it, and Gardner motored into third for what was ruled a triple. Carlos Beltran drove him in with a one-out sacrifice fly.
Trailing 1-0, the Orioles had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth but Pineda struck out Nolan Reimold and Ryan Flaherty.
"We are going to have to find different ways to manufacture a little bit," Russell said. "I felt like we had the opportunities -- we just didn't execute."
Gallardo allowed a solo home run to Mark Teixeira, who came in batting .186 and had missed three games because of a sore left foot, in the fourth. He then walked Teixeira on four pitches in the sixth with the bases loaded to force in a run and make it 3-0.
Jones left the game in the eighth with back spasms but said he expected to play Thursday. Davis is hoping to return for the series finale, while Wieters is still day-to-day.
Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (5-7) starts on his 36th birthday Thursday to close out the four-game series. He has a 7.48 ERA in four career starts on his birthday; he also has a 7.94 ERA since June 22.
Orioles RHP Chris Tillman (13-2) and the Nationals' Stephen Strasburg will both try Thursday to join Chris Sale of the White Sox as the only pitchers in the majors with 14 wins.