After gift-wrapping and presenting the game on a platter to the New York Yankees Saturday afternoon in The Bronx, the Orioles swiped one from underneath the ‘Bombers Sunday. The 8-3 O’s win pulls them to within two games of the AL East leaders, and gave the Orioles a 2-1 series win.
This win doesn’t come without its toll. Chris Tillman, arguably the best pitcher on the staff over the last six weeks, left the game with elbow tightness after three innings. And, while in the game, it was apparent he was not himself.
In the first, he issued a five-pitch walk to leadoff man Derek Jeter. He also unleashed a wild pitch in the inning, but the Yankees could not take advantage. Inning number two featured a walk to Russell Martin, and a screaming line drive homer to right by Chris Dickerson (1). With two outs, Jason Nix doubled to right. But Tillman wiggled out of it by fanning Jeter, and the O’s were down 2-0 after two.
Tillman completed a three-up, three-down third, but he could go no further. In the fourth, Randy Wolf (W, 1-0/4-10) made his Orioles debut, and retired the side in order.
All the while, the Orioles offense was spinning its wheels. Manny Machado picked up the forst O’s hit in the third, but was stranded. In the Orioles’ fourth, Nate McLouth singled with one away. But Yankees starter Phil Hughes (L, 13-12) got Adam Jones and Matt Wieters to retire the side.
The O’s got on the board in the fifth, courtesy of first baseman Mark Reynolds. On the sixth pitch of a 2-2 at-bat leading off, Reynolds blasted a 91 MPH, high fastball very deep into the stands in left for his 15th homer of the season, and his third in the series. The Orioles would pick up two more hits in the inning from Chris Davis and Nick Markakis, but could not push another run across.
The Yanks answered in the bottom half of the fifth, with a lead off hit, a sac bunt, and a Nick Swisher RBI, making it 3-1.
But the Orioles mugged Hughes in the sixth. McLouth walked. Jones singled him to second, and Wieters singled him home. Up stepped Reynolds. Hughes’ second pitch was a hanging, 74 MPH curve, and Reynolds jumped on it. Another towering home run deep into the seats in left (16) gave the Orioles a 5-3 lead, and completely turned this game on a dime.
The O’s piled on in the eighth. Wieters led off with a walk against Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlin. Reynolds’ third hit of the game—a single—moved Wieters to second. One out later, and with Derek Lowe on in relief, Machado singled to load the bases. Next up was Robert Andino, who produced a run without ever lifting the bat from his shoulder. A five-pitch walk made it 6-3. Again, Joe Girardi went to his bullpen, this time for Boone Logan. The lefty-lefty matchup against Nick Markakis did not work out well for New York, with Markakis smacking a sharp grounder into right for a two-run single for their 8-3 final margin.
The Orioles head north to Toronto next. Monday’s game time is 1:05, and features Joe Saunders (0-1/6-11) in his second start as an Oriole. Left hander J. A. Happ (10-10, 4.77) pitches for the Blue Jays.
- The Orioles are 15 games over .500, just 2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East chase, and currently hold the lead for the number 2 wild card spot.
- Randy Wolf’s Orioles debut: 3.1IP, 3H, 1R, 1BB, 1K, and 1W.
- Bullpen overall (including Wolf, Luis Ayala, Brian Matusz, and Darren O’Day): 6IP, 3H, 1R, 2BB, 2K. And 1W.
- Reynolds: 3/5, 3R, 2HR, 4RBI, 0K
- Multi-hit efforts from Markakis and Machado.
- Offense: 4/10 with RISP
- The expansion of rosters may make his loss easier to handle, but losing Tillman long-term would be a shame, both for him and for the Orioles. There is no question. Tillman has turned a major corner. The Orioles will find out more in the next couple of days. Tillman will undergo an MRI in Baltimore Monday.