BALTIMORE, Md. — I’m not even going to sugarcoat it, not at this point in the season. The New York Yankees needed to sweep the Baltimore Orioles and completely botched it with one out to go in the finale. This reeked of the early season where the team wouldn’t go for the kill with the potential to sweep. Losing to the Orioles is a good way to miss the postseason or find yourself in a Wild Card playoff at Toronto or Boston.
That’s how it’s done! I shouldn’t have to pump this up given the opponent but it was nice to see the Yankees soar to a convincing 7-2 victory.
It didn’t take the Bronx Bombers long to unleash the longball against Alexander Wells. During the first frame, Aaron Judge cracked a 2-1 changeup to right-center for a 2-0 advantage.
The only real minus points were the defense up the middle by Gio Ursehla and Gleyber Torres, and the Sal Romano experiment in the ninth inning that forced Aroldis Champan to have to finish out the game.
This game was something else. The Yankees went from cruising along to nearly imploding to pulling out a 4-3 victory.
New York took an early lead in the third inning, as Urshela walloped a two-run tater off John Means. It was the start of a solid evening at the dish and in the field for Urshela.
On the bump, Nestor Cortes had the Birds eating out of his hand like the pigeon lady in Central Park in Home Alone 2. The young and inexperienced Oriole hitters were chasing virtually everything throw at or by them. Cortes racked up 11 Ks in 6.1 strong frames. His lone bugaboo was a solo homer yielded to Austin Hays in the sixth inning.
Hays was back for more damage in the eighth inning against Chad Green. Green was probably pushed too far but he has been prone to these late-inning launches this season. He also wasn’t helped by virtue of Torres not throwing to second base on a potential double-play ball. Hays’ two-run jack to left-center posted the O’s to their first advantage of the contest at 3-2.
Yet, the Yankees would rally in the ninth inning against Tyler Wells. Luke Voit walked and was pinch-run for by Tyler Wade. Torres singled to center. With one out, a double-steal had the Yankees set up with Brett Gardner having a fabulous evening. With the infield drawn in, Gardner’s loop base hit plated the aggressive Wade and Torres and put the Yankees in the driver’s seat at 4-3.
What an awful loss. It was almost like the Yankees got to a point where they anticipated the game being called for rain after five or six innings and stopped playing. How do you score two runs against that team? The Yankees were one strike away from a sweep but dropped the contest 3-2 in 10 innings.
The Yankees jumped out early against Chris Ellis and the Orioles. Gallo stayed in his home run groove and smacked a solo shot to right during the second stanza.
On the mound, Jordan Montgomery followed Cortes with a superb outing. Montgomery struck out a dozen in 5.2 frames. It marked the first time Yankee starters have posted consecutive outings of 10+ Ks since A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia in 2009. It was also the first time in franchise history that consecutive starters have accrued 11 Ks.
The only blemish was a Ryan Mountcastle home run to center in the sixth inning.
While the Yankees maintained the edge into the ninth inning, they botched the lead away. With Clay Holmes on for a second frame, he didn’t quite have the same command. He allowed a one-out hit to DJ Stewart, who was pinch-run for by Kelvin Gutierrez. A wild pitch, that probably should’ve been caught by Gary Sanchez, enabled Gutierrez to scoot to second base. Following a Pat Valaika ground out that moved Gutierrez to third, a second wild pitch, again, probably should’ve been blocked, enabled Gutierrez to score the equalizer.
Maybe a better strategy is to have your catcher positioned not on one knee for “framing” when you have a runner on third and need your catcher to block the ball.
New York failed to score in the top of the tenth. In the bottom of the tenth, an odd defensive alignment allowed Richie Martin to bunt for a hit and advance the automatic runner Austin Wynns to third. The Yankees would intentionally walk Cedric Mullins to load the bases. After Wandy Peralta struck out Mountcastle, he couldn’t fool Hays, who singled to left to end the game. Brutal.
At 82-65, the Yankees return home to face the Cleveland Indians for a three-game set at Yankee Stadium, beginning Friday evening.
Pitching probables, Zach Plesac vs. Corey Kluber, Aaron Civale vs. Luis Gil, Eli Morgan vs. Gerrit Cole.