The Orioles received a little payback in New York Wednesday afternoon, falling 12-3 to the Yankees. To say this game was much like Tuesday’s 11-5 Orioles win, though, would hardly be accurate. Like the Orioles did Tuesday, the Yankees got an early grand slam in a seven-run inning. But that’s really where the similarities between the two games, ends.
Zach Britton (L, 1-1) turned in one of the very worst pitching performances for the Orioles this year. In the first, he Allowed a one-out, solo home run to Curtis Granderson (29), followed by a double from Nick Swisher. Robinson Cano picked up a cheap base hit on a tapper to first baseman Mark Reynolds, who flipped to Britton covering. The toss was a bit high, and Britton couldn’t handle it. Swisher, who’d moved to third on the play, scored when Andrew Jones hit a sac fly, making it 2-0, and that’s where thing s stood heading into the Yankees’ third.
As Chris Tillman showed Tuesday, while it may not be easy to atone for a lousy inning early in the game, it is possible to keep the opposition right where it is, and give your offense a chance to make a game of it. While it wasn’t quite the offensive explosion Tillman enjoyed after his poor first Tuesday, the birds’ bats did have an answer for the Yankees two run first, in the Orioles’ half of the second.
Wilson Betemit hit a one-out single, followed by a double from Reynolds. Endy Chavez then grounded out to first, scoring Betemit, and cutting the Yankees lead in half at 2-1.
But Britton could simply not uphold his end of the bargain. His fastball was flat. His sinker, didn’t. He missed spots by six inches to a foot, regularly. And, against the New York Yankees—even playing as poorly as they have been recently—that is a sure-fire losing formula.
In the Yankees’ second, Casey McGehee—acquired from the Pirates at the trade deadline—led off with a walk. One out later, McGehee moved to second on a passed ball. He moved to third on a Jayson Nix base hit, and scored on a single from Derek Jeter. One out later, Swisher plated Nix, and the Yankees led 4-1.
Britton completely fell apart in the third. With one out and the rain falling, he walked Russell Martin and McGehee, back-to-back. Ichiro blasted a 3-1 fastball deep into right-center. Adam Jones, playing shallow in left center, got a great break on the ball, but his route forced him to overrun the ball. At just the last possible moment, a step from the warning track, Jones’—still in mid-stride—made an amazingly athletic adjustment. His body still carrying him toward right field, Jones reached his glove hand behind his head and back toward left field, to make terrific catch.
On Britton’s next pitch, Nix blasted a ground rule double to left-center. McGehee scored, making it 5-1. Buck Showalter decided, with the Yankees hitting everything hard and the game still within reach, it was time to go to the bullpen for Kevin Gregg.
Gregg had quietly put together a very nice run, having stranded 10 of 12 inherited runners in 2012. In July, he’d given up a run in just one of his ten outings, pitching to an ERA of 0.84. But Wednesday, we flipped the calendar to August. On Gregg’s third pitch, Derek Jeter delivered a two-run single, making it 7-1. Granderson singled. Swisher walked, and the bases were loaded for Robinson Cano.
Gregg worked ahead of Cano, starting him 0-2. But he just could not put him away. With a 1-2 count, and on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Cano pounced all over a nothing slider right down the middle, and hit it into the right field seats for a grand slam. A seven-run inning, with all seven runs scoring after two were out, and capped off with a grand slam. Sound familiar? The Yankees led 11-1. Suddenly, the rooting interest in the New York rain began to spike.
The Orioles offense didn’t exactly wither away after that. Nor did they produce the stunning comeback similar to Tuesday’s. The birds, in fact, had runners on in every inning of the game, except the ninth. The Orioles put two runners on base in each of the fourth, fifth, and sixth, coming up empty in each. In the seventh, JJ Hardy hit a home run to left (15). Chavez doubled home Reynolds in the eighth, making it 12-2. The Yanks tacked on one in the bottom of the eighth for the 12-3 final.
After taking 2 of 3 at Yankee Stadium, the birds get an off day Thursday, and fly south to Tampa in a weekend series. Tommy Hunter (4-6, 5.68) goes for Baltimore, vs. Tampa lefty Matt Moore (7-7, 4.08). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 Friday night.
- Three hits from Hardy, including a home run. Two RBIs from Chavez.
- Two shutout innings from Matt Lindstrom.
- Britton looks like a guy who is either, A) still hurting physically, or B) not yet big league ready. His line: 2.2IP, 7H, 7ER, 3K, 3BB, 1HR.
- The Orioles left 11 runners on base, and went 0-15 with RiSP.