In their second series of the season, the New York Yankees ventured closer to the Bronx with a stop in Baltimore. With Tropicana Field in the rearview mirror, the vastly aesthetically appealing Oriole Park at Camden Yards was the site of their three-game set.
The park used to be a home away from home of sorts for the Yankees, especially for their hitters. Yet, post-Mariano Rivera, the club is only 8-22 by the Inner Harbor. New York could have used Mo.
Yet, following a couple of tough losses, the Bronx Bombers fly home on a high note.
After exchanging a run apiece in the first frame, it was a game of power ball.
Matt Holliday, who drove in Brett Gardner with an RBI-single to right in the first, hammered his first home run of the season and his first as a Yankee. Again driving in Gardner, Holliday’s laser to left-center regained the Yankee lead at 3-1 in the third.
The first of (hopefully) many as a Yankee. pic.twitter.com/J1ix6V2N8u
Yo Soy El Gary
Sure he collected his first hit of the season in the series finale at Tampa but Gary Sanchez arrived in a big way during the fifth inning against Baltimore. Sanchez’s launch party was a two-run moonshot to left, plating (say it with me) Gardy and increasing the lead to 5-1.
The Kraken is back. pic.twitter.com/tdcC2OpnpW
Unfortunately, as you well know by now, Sanchez was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right biceps.
A Luis Luis Oh No
A great reliever can often burn through a lineup once, before being exposed. Much like the other Yankee starters, Luis Severino appeared to be in a groove. Yet in the home half of the fifth, Severino was smashed. There’s no shame in yielding a home run to Manny Machado but you don’t want to place yourself in a such a predicament.
After issuing a free pass to the free-swinging Adam Jones, Severino was taken deep to left-center on a no-doubter by Machado. The blast pulled the Orioles within a run.
Ran out of Rolaids
Following the last series, I joked the bullpen could glue the staff together at least through Memorial Day. The Rolaids ran out before Palm Sunday.
During the seventh, with Tyler Clippard on the bump, an error by Chase Headley allowed Jonathan Schoop to reach first base. If we’re “keeping it 100,” as the kids say, Greg Bird should have made the scoop on the bounce. Mark Teixeira makes the play in his sleep but I digress.
With the left-handed Seth Smith batting,
the Yankees countered with lefty Andrew Miller, Clippard was taken over the scoreboard in right field. Eli Manning’s former Ole Miss backup gave the O’s their first lead with his second hit and second RBI of the evening. It was a 6-5 advantage the Orioles would not relinquish.
It’s Deja vu All Over Again
Game 2 had much of the same formula. Take an early lead, hold the opposition down the first time around the order, remove the starter from the game after the fifth, watch the bullpen implode.
On a positive note, Matt Holliday recorded career hit No. 2,000 in the first inning, off Kevin Gausman.
TOE Kicks off Scoring
More than doing his job with both runners in scoring position, Ronald Torreyes grounded a two-run single to right and the Yankees went up 2-0 in the second.
After a Wellington Castillo single cut the lead in half in the fourth inning, the Yankees offense tacked on more runs in the fifth.
With Starlin Castro at the plate and runners at the corners, Austin Romine would score on a balk, after Gausman threw to Manny Machado, who clearly wasn’t covering third. Jacoby Ellsbury, who moved up to second on the balk, scored on a singled to left by Castro. The Yankees took a 4-1 lead but it was a costly fifth.
Ay Dios Mio
As you read above, it was Romine on the bases and not Sanchez. On his follow through swing Sanchez injured his right biceps and had to leave the game.
Tanaka Tails off
In the home half of the fifth, the O’s stormed back. A Machado double to right cut the lead in half again. A fielder’s choice groundout by Mark Trumbo plated Adam Jones and made it a 4-3 game.
While Tanaka would exit with the lead, like all other Yankee starters, he wouldn’t enter the sixth.
Rather than starting the inning fresh with Dellin Betances, the Yankees left Adam Warren in to record the first out. Tommy Layne was called upon to face fellow lefty Chris Davis, who doubled to right. With Betances on, Trumbo singled to left-center, scoring Davis to square the contest at four.
After Trumbo stole second, Hyun-soo Kim drove in Trumbo with the eventual winner on a single to right-center.
Rather than go for the tie and worry about defense in the ninth, manager Joe Girardi allowed Romine to bat instead of calling on Aaron Judge.
In the end, it was another blown loss, 5-4, and a three-game losing streak.
A Reversal of Fortunes
Game 3 saw the Yankees complete 180 from the previous two contests, avoid a sweep with a 7-3 victory over the Orioles. New York received length from its starting pitching, an offense which woke up and “stayed woke” late and a bullpen which sealed the deal.
Despite trailing 3-0 into the sixth, CC Sabathia battled again and gave the Yankees length, becoming their first starter to reach the sixth inning on the young season.
Walk as Good as a Hit
While the Yankees only had one hit off Wade Miley, the lineup worked him with seven walks. Patience paid off, Miley was done through five frames and the Yankees made their climb in the sixth. Matt Holliday topped the club with five on the afternoon.
Lindor, Seager, Torreyes?
Yup. Ronald Torreyes was at it again, equaling Francisco Lindor and Corey Seager with the shortstop lead in RBI with seven. Torreyes lined a two-run triple to right, cutting the Baltimore lead to 3-2 in the sixth.
Using Better Judgement
With the likes of Tyler Austin, Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez and James Kaprielian on the mend, I suggested on Twitter the Yankees put some Baby Bomber bubble wrap around Aaron Judge. I also suggested Judge pinch hit for Romine in the ninth inning Saturday but I digress.
During the eighth, with his massive power, Judge was able to deposit a 2-2 offering from Mychal Givens off the end of his bat and into the left-field stands for the equalizer.
Pouring It on
There was no letting up with the Yankees in the ninth. A Starlin Casto go-ahead single to center put the Yankees ahead for good. A groundout by Judge gave the Yankees some insurance. Plus, two runs scored via a sacrifice fly to right by Romine and a throwing error.
Hey There Old Chap
Finally, the Yankees were able to call on Aroldis Chapman in the ninth. Albeit a non-save situation, Chapman fanned two and preserved the 7-3 victory.
At 2-4 on the campaign, New York heads home to Yankee Stadium for its 115th Opening Day to face the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series starting Monday afternoon. Coming off a 7-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at home, the Rays are 5-2.
Good news: We got the win.
More good news: We're coming HOME. We'll see you in the Bronx tomorrow, Yankees fans! pic.twitter.com/Oxtn73ejFS
Pitching probables include Alex Cobb vs. Michael Pineda, Blake Snell vs. Luis Severino, Matt Andriese vs. Masahiro Tanaka.