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Orioles lose 6-5 on pinch hit grand slam by Drew

The Orioles lost tonight 6-5 to the Yankees, the key blow coming in the top of the 7th when Stephen Drew pinch hit for an injured Brett Gardner and smashed a grand slam home run over the right center field fence.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles pitching woes of the early season continued tonight against the Yankees. The Orioles moved to 3-4 on the season losing 6-5. As the Yankees came into town so did Alex Rodriguez for his first road game coming off his year long suspension. It has been said that the one shared experience of all mankind is death. I would like to add booing Alex Rodriguez to that list.  Rodriguez finished 0-4 with 2 strike outs.

The game started off well enough for the Orioles. Each pitcher cruised relatively easily through the first few innings. Wei-Yin Chen gave up a solo home run to Chris Young on a hanging curve ball that Young waited on and smashed into the left field seats. However, in the bottom of the second inning the Orioles would answer with a Jones infield hit (advacning to second on a Travis Snider ground out) and then back to back doubles by Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop taking the game to 2-1.

Chen looked good, much better than his first outing, he commanded his pitches and his fastball very well as he went 6 innings, gave up 2 earned runs, and walked only 1 while striking out 4. A good sign for the Orioles that Chen was able to limit the hits and keep the barrel of the bat off of his pitches for the most part. Also, unusually Chen recorded seven outs on the ground which is an abnormality for him.

The other run off of Chen came in the fourth when he tried and failed to sneak a fastball high and tight to the Severna Park bum Mark Teixeira who promptly deposited it into the left field seats. Chen otherwise was able to limit the damage.

Right handed pitcher and pine tar baron Michael Pineda looked good at times tonight, but the Orioles were able to touch him up to the tune of nine hits in 6.1 innings of work. He also struck out 9 and gave up 0 walks. The bottom of the sixth brought some more trouble for Pineda as Alejandro De Aza continued his hot hitting with a lead off double down the right field line. Jones then came up with two outs and devastated a belt high pitch to left center field. 4-2 Orioles.

Then, sadly, came the top of the 7th. Tommy Hunter was called on to replace Chen. The inning started off with a Chris Young golf shot into shallow left field. Then Hunter walked John Ryan Murphy. He proceeded to get Didi Gregorius and pinch hitter Garrett Jones to fly out. Next up was Jacoby Ellsbury who had a nice at bat that ended on a dribbler that split the pitcher and the first baseman. Schoop attempted to shovel the ball to Davis, Davis bobbled the throw, but Ellsbury was probably safe anyways. The ball was ruled a hit and now the bases were loaded with two outs.

As Brian Matusz and Zach Britton stared on from the bullpen left handed pinch hitter Stephen Drew stepped in, coming in for an injured Brett Gardner, and Drew worked a good at bat to a 3-1 count. Drew and Hunter both knew Hunter had to throw a fastball with the bases loaded and Hunter let a thigh high outer third 95 mph fastball go. Drew did not miss and walloped a grand slam over the right center field fence. 6-4 Yankees. Tommy goes boom. Ugh.

The Orioles came back a bit in the bottom of the seventh inning chasing Pineda after hits by Machado and Everth Cabrera. In came Dellin Betances who promptly served a single up to Caleb Joseph. Bases loaded, one out. De Aza grounded into a fielders choice after an errant throw pulled Teixeria off of the bag scoring the runner from 3rd, 6-5. De Aza then stole second and Steve Pearce drew a walk. In stepped Chris Davis who had previously struck out swinging 3 times before this at bat. Well, he struck out swinging one more time leaving a total of four runners on base for the night. He can pick up his golden hat in the parking lot.

The Yankees nor the Orioles managed much of a threat after that. Darren O'Day and Brian Matusz came in and pitched two scoreless innings. Both of them looked like the much more effective versions of themselves. Finally former Oriole rental Andrew Miller came in for the Yankees with one out in the eighth and slammed the door shut on the Orioles chances garnering the five out save.

The Orioles and Yankees will be back at it again tomorrow as Miguel Gonzalez gets the start. Game time is 7:05 once again. Hopefully, it is better.