It felt like old times for the New York Yankees in their bludgeoning sweep of the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The three-game demolition and eighth consecutive victory at Baltimore are precisely what one would expect virtually every time the Yanks pair up with the O’s. A road series at a hitters park against an awful pitching staff was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Yankees to ride hot into Houston.
Say this for the 2019 Yankees, they sure do know how to make a solid first impression in a series. For the third consecutive series, the Bronx Bombers took the opening game and started their road trip 1-0 by doubling up the Birds 8-4. It honestly felt like how the Yankees used to hit at Camden Yards before Buck Showalter managed the Orioles.
While he would eventually settle down, it was a rough start for James Paxton and the Yankees. Almost a reverse of Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. A Jonathan Villar home run to right, coupled with a balk and a wild pitch, staked Baltimore to a 3-0 advantage. Yet, aside from a Renato Nunez RBI-single in the fifth, Paxton and his nine K’s across 5.1 frames pitched to the scoreboard and allowed the Yankees lineup to catch up and stay in front.
Moving over to shortstop, Gleyber Torres displayed his best impression of April 2018 Didi Gregorius at the plate. Torres’ 4-for-4 afternoon was off the hook and helped lead New York on the comeback trail.
Smacking a 1-1 splitter from Alex Cobb to left, Torres cut the deficit to 3-1 in the third inning with the solo bomb.
Gleyber Torres with a BOMB! 💣
His first dinger of the season puts the Yankees on the board.
In the sixth Gary Sanchez, who looks balanced and locked in at the plate and who had a sweet pickoff of Rio Ruiz at first base in the third inning, clubbed a solo bomb to center off a 1-2 fastball from Cobb, halving the Orioles lead to 4-2.
After consecutive singles from Greg Bird and DJ LeMahieu, Torres, who collected seven three-run homers in 2018, topped a three-run tater to left off an 0-2 fastball from Mike Wright, providing the Bronx Bombers with a 5-4 advantage.
On in relief of Paxton in the sixth, Tommy Kahnle once again pulled off his Houdini act. With one on and one out, Kahnle walked Jesus Sucre. On the ropes and with a 3-1 count, Kahnle retired Richie Martin on an inning-ending double play. Kahnle would work another flawless inning before handing the baton to Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman.
DE JA VOIT
If it’s Thursday and the Yankees are playing the Orioles on an Opening Day, Luke Voit will smoke a three-run bomb. As he did the week before, Voit clubbed a three-run jack, this time in the ninth. Voit’s home run to left off a 1-1 Miguel Castro sinker capped off the New York scoring at 8-4.
During the middle game, the Yankees jumped out early, nearly tried to hand it back but ultimately came up with the timely hits they needed and bumped off the Orioles 6-4.
AARON ANSWERS THE BELL
I was wondering when my 62 home run prediction was going to start kicking in with Aaron Judge? As is the case with a lot of great sluggers, home runs come in bunches. All it took was Camden Yards and Judge was hitting them were Darryl Strawberry did for the Bronx Bombers back in the ’90s.
Judge blasted a 2-2 fastball off Dylan Bundy to center for a 1-0 lead in the first frame.
It was a welcome sight to see, adding to an otherwise solid start to the season for the Yankee right fielder.
NOT A HAPPY CAMPER
Last season it felt like J.A. Happ could navigate a game where he’d essentially place the opposition into a sleeper hold, almost to the point of being boring in a good way. So far Happ is still working out the kinks and trying to build up.
After Judge posted the Yanks to a 1-0 edge, Happ gifted it right back by yielding a home run to right field by Trey Mancini in the first frame.
He did get some defensive help in that first inning though in the way of Tyler Wade at second base, robbing a speedy Joey Rickard.
Happ would run into trouble before being yanked in the fifth. Cedric Mullins singled to left field and Rickard coaxed a one-out walk.
With Jonathan Holder on, Mancini popped out but the ensuing batter Renato Nunez lined an RBI-single to left field.
Sometimes the Yankees are perplexing on the basepaths and there were at least a couple of RISP fails in this one. During the fourth frame, Torres was doubled off first base on a lineout by DJ LeMahieu.
During the sixth, New York loaded the bases against Nate Karns, prompting Baltimore to call on Paul Fry. Catcher Pedro Severino picked off Sanchez at third base. Fry whiffed pinch hitter Clint Frazier and got Gio Urshela to ground out to second base to end the threat.
HOLD IT RIGHT THERE
After having an off day and virtually everyone available aside from Britton, it was a bit odd manager Aaron Boone would try to push Holder an extra inning. Mullins was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on a single to right by Jonathan Villar. With Adam Ottavino on, it wasn’t all smooth but he was able to minimize the damage, yielding a run on a fielder’s choice to first by Chris Davis, which was bobbled and at the very least should’ve been eaten by Greg Bird, plus an eventual sacrifice fly RBI to Ruiz.
Frazier finally snapped to it in the eighth inning with authority. With two down against Miguel Castro, Torres walked and LeMahieu singled to right to keep the rally going. Frazier followed by smoking a 2-2 slider to left for the go-ahead three-run bomb.
The Bronx Bombers offensive onslaught continued into the finale. Up until the sixth inning, New York had scored 18 consecutive runs via the long ball. The Yankees connected on seven home runs, their most in a game since July 31, 2007. It was the most in a road game since May 30, 1961, at Boston. The end result was a 15-3 laugher.
EL GARY IS THREE TIMES AS SCARY
The Yankees wisely kept the locked in bat of Sanchez in the lineup at DH and it paid huge dividends. Sanchez had his 2016 vibe going with his first-career three home run game. He became the third Yankee DH with a three-homer game, joining Alex Rodriguez and Cliff Johnson.
Sanchez went yard off to left off a first-pitch fastball from David Hess in the third inning, a two-run bomb. Connecting again in the seventh, Sanchez launched a 1-2 slider from Wright to left-center for a two-run tater. In the eighth inning, Sanchez launched an 0-2 fastball off Dan Straily, another two-run jack to left field.
Virtually every Yankee was invited to the hit party, if not the home run party, including LeMahieu with an RBI-double and Gio Urshela with an RBI-single in the seventh.
Austin Romine, who hadn’t recorded a hit yet and allowed an Orioles run to score via a passed ball in the seventh, finally got on the board in the ninth. Romine smacked a two-run tater to center off O’s position player turned pitcher Hanser Alberto’s 67 mph first-pitch curveball.
To be fair, Alberto somehow kept Sanchez in the yard as he just got under what might’ve been a fourth home run.
DOMINGO MUY BIEN ON DOMINGO
Oh, by the way, the Yankees also received stellar starting pitching from Domingo German. German didn’t yield a hit to the Orioles until the sixth inning, surrendering one to Alberto (who also knocked in a run off Stephen Tarpley in the seventh and was apparently the only Oriole actually trying). German fanned three, allowed two hits, two runs and walked two in six innings of work.