- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Wei-Yin Chen’s 30th birthday party fizzled fast.

Chen gave up two early runs and then a tiebreaking hit to Brendan Ryan in the sixth inning as the Baltimore Orioles lost 3-2 to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night in the opener of a series between AL East rivals.

Alex Rodriguez had a sacrifice fly and Chase Headley an RBI double in the first two innings off Chen (4-6).

“I wasn’t able to control the situation as I wanted to in the first couple innings,” he said through a translator. “I think that gave the team some burden and that’s why we lost the game today.”

Chen allowed three runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings. He had not allowed more than two earned runs in seven straight starts.

Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury made a running, over-the-shoulder catch with a runner on second in the seventh to preserve the win for Justin Wilson (3-0) in relief of Nathan Eovaldi. New York opened a five-game lead in the division over Baltimore, which lost for the 10th time in 14 games.

Eovaldi held Baltimore hitless until Adam Jones singled under the glove of charging shortstop Didi Gregorius with two outs in the fourth. The right-hander reached 100 mph on his second and fourth pitches of the game and shut down the Orioles until he faded in the sixth, allowing a two-out RBI single to Matt Wieters.

Wilson relieved and yielded a run-scoring hit to J.J. Hardy but Wieters was caught in a rundown between second and third, ending the inning with the score tied 2-all.

“I thought, as hard as it was hit, I thought if he came up clean he was definitely going to try to get at him at the plate so I was trying,” Wieters said. “If it was going to be bang-bang there I would have rather have him try and cut it and get me at third so we could tie the game up there.”

Dellin Betances relieved and struck out Manny Machado with a runner on third to end the seventh and preserve a one-run lead.

Betances pitched the eighth and Andrew Miller got three outs against the team he helped win the East last season for his 21st save in 21 chances.

In the bottom of the sixth, Gregorius singled off Chen with two outs and Ryan followed with a double down the third base line for the lead.

Ryan, an oft-injured backup infielder, has made four starts this season and has an RBI in three of them.

“I’m sure it meant a lot” to him, manager Joe Girardi said. “It meant a lot to our club, too.”

Ellsbury broke up Chen’s birthday party with a double to start the first. Brett Gardner bunted Ellsbury to third and A-Rod hit a fly to left for a run.

A 15-minute rain delay pushed back the start of the bottom of the second. When play resumed, Brian McCann and Chris Young singled and Headley had a run-scoring double. The Yankees had second and third and none out but Chen settled down and retired the side.

Gregorius and Ryan each made out in the second.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: Baltimore is tied with the White Sox for fewest players on the DL. RHP Jason Garcia (right shoulder tendinitis) is on the 60-day DL.

Yankees: Carlos Beltran, who came off the disabled list Sunday, was given the night off in order to get Young in the lineup against the left-hander.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Kevin Gausman will be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to start against New York. The team’s No. 1 pick in 2012 has been up and down several times since coming off the DL in June 20. He is 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA in 11 appearances (three starts) for Baltimore this season.

Yankees: Ivan Nova (1-3) is set to make his fifth start since returning from Tommy John surgery on June 24. He’s lost three straight starts.

DRESS RIGHT

Gardner wore a pair of white cleats Sunday with gold highlights at the urging of teammate CC Sabathia. That sartorial choice got him a warning from MLB for violating uniform rules. His cleats needed to at least closely match the color of his teammates’ spikes, and everyone on New York wears mostly black shoes. “It was fun, but a one-time thing,” Gardner said.

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