NEW YORK -- The splinters of what used to be Brett Gardner's bat were littered around Yankee Stadium's home plate, a level of fury rarely seen from the outfielder, but it was that kind of night for the Yankees.
Gardner whiffed with the tying run on base in the ninth inning, finalizing a punchless 4-2 loss to the Orioles with a fitting end as the Bombers couldn't muster enough support for A.J. Burnett's odd outing.
"I was just frustrated with myself," Gardner said. "We put together a good rally in the ninth inning, trying to make a good comeback. It's never fun being the guy to go down, and be the last guy going down swinging."
Gardner clearly had an issue with a 3-1 pitch that he thought should have been called ball four by home-plate umpire Mike DiMuro, but his two-out at-bat was hardly the Yankees' only chance to make a dent.
Instead, a lack of run support doomed Burnett on an evening of mixed results. Burnett was pleased with his 10 strikeouts, and even more so by completing eight innings, but he still got tagged with a loss.
"I thought he threw the ball pretty well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's unfortunate we didn't score very many runs tonight, and the few mistakes that he made, they hit."
Burnett served up a two-run homer to Mark Reynolds, and Derrek Lee homered and drove in a pair of runs. Burnett completed his month of July winless in five starts, having last posted a victory on June 29, but said he'd accept more starts like Friday's.
"I've taken a lot of positives," Burnett said. "I'm not getting beat up. I've minimized mistakes, and a lot of it is just paying more attention. Where I am now, I feel fine. I can't wait to pitch next game. It's a great step to shut the door mentally on everything that happened."
It was the type of outing that Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie could sympathize with, having starved with some of the league's lowest run support on the way to racking up 14 losses this season.
But Guthrie turned the tables by whipping a sharp seven innings at the Yankees, limiting New York to a Mark Teixeira homer and four hits in all, notching his first victory in four starts at the new Yankee Stadium.
"We tried to work on a lot of offspeed, try to throw some breaking balls in there, not be too predictable," Guthrie said. "Fastball location is always going to be No. 1, but you've got to get a little more than that as well, and I thought [catcher] Matt [Wieters] did a nice job of mixing it up."
Limited to two hits through the first five innings, Teixeira shattered Guthrie's shutout in the sixth with his 29th home run of the year, a blast over the auxiliary scoreboard in right field.
For Teixeira, the home run reclaimed sole possession of the Yankees' team lead, one ahead of Curtis Granderson's 28 and two behind Major League leader Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays.
"Tex hit the homer, but other than that, we were pretty quiet against him," Gardner said. "Real quiet."
Baltimore cracked through against Burnett in the second inning, when Reynolds belted a two-run homer to right field, his 22nd, coming with Lee aboard after a walk.
In the fourth inning, Lee slashed a run-scoring double past center fielder Granderson, knocking in Vladimir Guerrero, who had doubled off Burnett.
Lee then ripped a solo line-drive homer into the right-field seats off Burnett in the sixth, his 12th of the year, to extend Baltimore's lead in a game that was delayed at the start one hour and 49 minutes by rain.
"He's just tough. This guy has electric stuff," Lee said. "We were able to take advantage of some of the mistakes he made. We hit him for extra-base hits and drove some runs in."
Instead of dwelling on the negatives, Burnett wanted to walk out of the ballpark thinking about what he'd done right.
"It was a big step, mentally," Burnett said. "I didn't let the [Reynolds] homer bother me, I didn't let the other one bother me. I went out there every time with that inning in the past, closed the door, and gave it all I could out there."
The Yankees made it interesting in the ninth, scoring a run as Robinson Cano doubled off the glove of third baseman Reynolds and then scored on a booming Nick Swisher two-base hit to deep left -- New York's only hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Jorge Posada worked a one-out walk to keep the rally alive, but they couldn't get any closer as Orioles closer Kevin Gregg regrouped to record the final outs.
Russell Martin hit into a fielder's choice before Gardner whiffed and then used his lumber to viciously attack the dirt in front of home plate, a display of emotion that his manager said that he didn't have any issue with.
"This game, at times, can be frustrating. It just shows you the passion that he has," Girardi said. "So I don't have a problems with it at all."
Striking a softer tone at his locker after a brief cooling-off period, Gardner shrugged and offered a more reasonable explanation for the display.
"I didn't get any hits tonight, so it was time to retire [the bat] anyway," Gardner said.