After last night's heartbreaking loss, the Orioles went into tonight's game with the deck stacked against them. They had to face the Yankees' ace, CC Sabathia, they were without Matt Wieters after he caught all fifteen innings yesterday, Derrek Lee and Brian Roberts had both been sent to the disabled list, and since Jeremy Guthrie pitched in the fifteenth inning last night, they were relying on Brad Bergesen to try and shut down the Yankees offense.
Sadly, folks, this game didn't turn out to be a triumphant tale of the underdog overcoming the odds to defeat the juggernaut. Instead it was exactly what we thought it would be: a massacre.
The Yankees didn't even give Bergesen a chance to get settled in before they started scoring runs. Derek Jeter roped a double to right field that Nick Markakis had barely thrown back into the infield when the #2 hitter, Curtis Granderson, launched another ball in that direction for a triple. Jeter scored to give the Yankees a lead they would never relinquish, then Mark Teixeira grounded out to second to score Granderson. After Alex Rodriguez was called out on strikes for the second out, it looked like Bergesen might be able to get out of the inning relatively unharmed.
Yeah, that didn't happen.
With two outs, the bases empty, and an 0-1 count, Bergesen hit Robinson Cano. Lest anyone wonder if that was bad blood left over from last night's game (not that the Orioles would be the ones retaliating), Bergy followed that up with walks to Russell Martin and Jorge Posada.
Bergesen only had to retire Nick Swisher to keep things under control, which he did not. Swisher hit a ball to the left field corner and Felix Pie raced full speed towards it. He got a glove on the ball but couldn't make the play, and the bases cleared to give the Yankees a five-run lead. Brett Gardner struck out, mercifully ending an inning in which Bergesen threw 34 pitches, gave up two doubles, a triple, two walks, and hit a batter.
Thanks to that miserable top of the first, the O's knew they'd need to score at least six runs to take the lead, and well, they didn't. But there was a little bit of drama in the bottom of the first. After retiring Robert Andino and J.J. Hardy, Sabathia threw a 95 mph fastball right into Nick Markakis' back. Ouch! Nick couldn't have been surprised, and he took his base without any trouble. The umpires warned both benches and that was that.
With Markakis on first, Vladimir Guerrero hit a ground ball into right field for a single. Nick went to third on the play and it looked like the O's might be able to get back a few runs, but Adam Jones grounded out to second (he hit it hard, at least) to end the inning.
After that, the Orioles just couldn't get anything going. They got another baserunner in the third when Hardy reached on a throwing error by Jeter, but Markakis struck out to end the inning.
Bergesen, meanwhile, retired the side in order in the second and third innings before completely falling apart in the fourth. After a one-out walk to Swisher, Gardner and Jeter hit back-to-back triples to give the Yankees a seven-run lead. Three triples in one game? Ludicrous. That was it for Bergesen, and new addition to the bullpen Chris Jakubauskas came in to stop the bleeding.
He didn't. After Granderson popped up for the second out, Teixeira smoked his tenth home run of the year out to the flag court. Jeter scored on the homer and the game went from embarrassing to mortifying. That closed the book on Bergesen, whose line on the night was 3.1 IP, 5 H (all for extra bases), 8 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1 HBP. He threw 77 pitches, 47 for strikes.
Keep in mind that at this point it was only the fourth inning of the game. Seriously. How did the O's offense respond to the pitching meltdown? By going 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning, of course.
The Yankees added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but at this point it doesn't even matter how they got them. They had an 11-0 lead, what else do you need to know?
The Orioles tried to make some noise in the fifth and sixth innings, but it was for naught. Jake Fox doubled (he came THIS close to a HR over the scoreboard) and Andino singled to left, but Hardy grounded out to end things. In the sixth Vladdy hit a single to right, but because it was SO important that he try to get to second when the team was down by eleven runs, was thrown out by a mile. Jones followed that with an automatic double that bounced over the center field fence, but he was stranded.
Then something crazy happened, y'all. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Buck Showalter went to the pen and brought in...Troy Patton! Yes, folks, Troy Patton is actually real! After eluding us since last season and prompting a theory from a fellow writer that he doesn't even exist (a theory that this site has run with in a way I don't think he ever saw coming), I finally glimpsed Troy Patton with my own two eyes. And not only is he real, but he can (kind of) get batters out. He got Teixeira to end the inning and pitched a scoreless eighth before a two-run HR by Eduardo Nunez in the ninth marred his outing.
After going quietly against Sabathia in the eighth inning, the Orioles refused to let us go home in the ninth. Against new pitcher Amauri Sanit, Jones and Pie singled ahead of an automatic double by Reynolds to right-center. That busted up the shutout, and a ground out by Fox scored Pie for the second run. After Snyder got hit in the elbow and Russell Martin booted a ball at third, Hardy lined out and Markakis flied out to end the game.
Well, that was an ugly few games The Orioles remain winless against the Yankees in 2011 and now face a weekend series against their "rivals," the Washington Nationals.