In a barren night for the offense, the Orioles only had three players record hits. They only scored two runs against a Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, who hit two batters and had three wild pitches, and they never walked. Their own starter, Miguel Gonzalez, gave up two home runs. Losses come in all shapes and sizes. So do wins. The Orioles overcame these insignificant details to take the game on a walkoff Nick Hundley single in the tenth inning, beating the Yankees 3-2 on Friday night.
They all count just the same in the standings, even the wins where the team gets no hits from the third inning until the tenth inning and only five hits in total. The team only had five chances with runners in scoring position in the entire game, and most of those were the result of wild pitches. Sometimes the hows and the whys are unimportant, just that they did it, and on Friday night, they stole a game they might not have deserved. As we all know, deserve got nothin' to do with it.
The heroics looked like they might end up being anything but. Manny Machado led off the tenth inning with a double to right field, but he was stuck there after #8 hitter Ryan Flaherty failed to get down a bunt. Flaherty's bunt attempt was a near disaster: He popped the pitch straight back, but substitute catcher Francisco Cervelli couldn't get there in time. Flaherty struck out instead, bringing up Nick Hundley.
Why, with the winning run on second base, did Buck Showalter not pinch-hit for his light-hitting catcher in favor of someone like Delmon Young? This question does not matter either. Hundley drove a single into center field, easily scoring Machado and giving them a win that you have to feel like they stole. Or maybe good teams make their own luck. It was Hundley's second hit of the night, extending his hitting streak to eight games.
Kuroda pitched seven innings for the Yankees, surviving one wild inning where he hit two batters and gave up two wild pitches. The O's scored the two runs they got against Kuroda in the fourth inning, when they only got a lone hit, an Adam Jones single past Derek Jeter that advanced Steve Pearce, whose jersey was lightly grazed, to third base. Pearce scored and Jones took second on the first of the wild pitches, then Jones took third on another wild pitch. He scored the Orioles second run on a Chris Davis sacrifice fly.
Davis looked like he wanted to strike out, but he made contact and flew out deep enough to left that left fielder Brett Gardner didn't even bother to throw home.
Those two runs tied the score at 2-2, with the Yankees having gotten runs on a pair of solo home runs, one in the second inning by former Oriole Brian Roberts and one in the third from ninth/designated hitter Kelly Johnson.
Roberts jumped on the first pitch he saw, a total meatball, to hit his fifth home run of the season in the stadium that was his home park for 13 years. The crowd barely had time to notice he was at bat before he homered. He was neither booed nor cheered. He was just there. The Yankees fans among the crowd of 45,389 - a significant percentage - cheered the home run.
A shaky fourth inning for Gonzalez saw him give up a single to slow-footed Brian McCann, who couldn't score two batters later when Ichiro Suzuki doubled to right field. That cost the Yankees, who followed up with two weak fly balls that couldn't score McCann either. They only got one more baserunner against Gonzalez, an eighth inning hit-by-pitch of Johnson that may have been intentional.
In the end, Gonzalez pitched eight innings, the second consecutive start where he has done so. The home runs were unfortunate, but half that outing was cruise control, too. His final line was eight innings with six hits, two earned runs, no walks, and five strikeouts.
The Yankees didn't threaten again until Gonzalez was out of the game. McCann led off the ninth inning with a single off of Zach Britton. Roberts attempted to bunt him into scoring position, but Davis made a great play and pounced on the ball to throw out the runner at second, despite Yankees manager Joe Girardi using a pinch runner. Then again, it was pinch running one catcher for another.
The game turned into a question of whose relievers would suck first. The Yankees deployed strikeout machine Dellin Betances for the eighth and the ninth inning, giving them the early upper hand in that quest. Betances came into the game having 65 of his last 128 outs being strikeouts, with a 13.67 K/9 for the season. That's actually ridiculous.
The Orioles did not get any chances against Betances, either, with the lone baserunner across two innings being a Pearce HBP which may have possibly been a retaliation for the possible retaliation HBP of Johnson. Baseball players are weird. Betances struck out three of the seven batters he faced. He's struck out over 40% of the batters he has faced, which is also ridiculous.
T.J. McFarland came on in the tenth for the Orioles, facing the top of the Yankees lineup: Gardner, Jeter, and Jacoby Ellsbury. The O's were undoubtedly the first team to deploy a reliever who makes you nervous. McFarland had an easy inning, though, getting three straight groundouts to keep the game tied.
Since they scored in the bottom of the tenth, McFarland gets the win to go to a 3-2 record on the year. The Yankees' Adam Warren took the loss after his tenth inning effort, falling to 1-5 on the season, though his ERA is a respectable 2.79 - almost half a run lower than McFarland's.
By winning the game without hitting a home run, the Orioles have now had three of their last six wins come without home runs. That followed a streak of 33 straight wins where they recorded a home run, and they've now homered in 43 of their 51 wins. They've homered in 22 losses too, just for fun.
Friday's win guarantees that the Orioles will have sole possession of first place in the division at the All-Star Break. They remain three games ahead of the Blue Jays, who beat the Rays on Friday night.
The O's and Yankees will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, with Chris Tillman moving up to start the Saturday game against Shane Greene following the ankle injury to Ubaldo Jimenez. The game is scheduled to get underway at 4:05.