This just isn't the Orioles' week. They lost another game in New York on Friday night, another one-run game where they didn't get a strong outing from their starting pitcher, still had some chances and just didn't make the most of enough of them. They dropped a 5-4 game to the Yankees to fall three games under .500. It is their fourth straight loss.
The Orioles had a nice chance from the get-go. Manny Machado led off the game with a single and was in scoring position after a groundout. This turned into nothing, though, as the inning ultimately ended when Machado was thrown out at the plate. Delmon Young grounded a single past a diving Didi Gregorius. Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner charged the ball, fielded it cleanly as the ghost of the Windmill waved Machado home, then made a strong throw to peg Machado at the plate.
It was a terrible send. In fairness to third base coach Bobby Dickerson, perhaps he was fully aware that, with Chris Davis coming to the plate next, there wasn't much point in playing conservatively. It didn't work, at any rate. The Orioles got nothing. Davis also got nothing on the night, going 0-4, though this time he only struck out once. Is that a moral victory? Probably not.
The Yankees also had some first inning chances. They did not waste any of them. Jacoby Ellsbury Royaled his way on base with an infield single. There was nothing cheap about anything that came after. By the time the dust settled, Alex Rodriguez collected an RBI sacrifice fly, Brian McCann hit a home run several rows deep into the right field seats, and the Yankees were up on the Orioles, 3-0.
Back-to-back one-out singles in the second inning amounted to nothing for the O's. So did Machado leading off with another single in the third inning, this time because he was thrown out trying to steal second base. McCann hasn't had a good success rate throwing out runners in his career, but still, remember the mantra: Don't run ever. It applies as a warning to other team's runners as well as the Orioles.
Another Yankees chance resulted in more runs. They loaded the bases in the third inning, the last coming on an intentional walk to McCann. Carlos Beltran hit a double that would have cleared the bases, except McCann tried to score from first and was thrown out at the plate after he looked like he was tagged in the testicles.
Confession: I mostly just wanted to write the word testicles because part of me is forever juvenile and will always think that word is funny. Also, this game sucked, so something needs to lighten up the mood. Testicles.
Orioles pitchers seem to be the only ones unaware that Beltran and Stephen Drew are no longer good baseball players.
Gonzalez was plucked from the game after only four innings of work. It was a Tommy Hunter special for Gonzalez (five runs, all earned), with the runs coming on five hits and two walks. Impressively good efficiency for Yankees batters and impressively poor for Gonzalez.
The O's actually out-hit and out-walked the Yankees in the game, and came up with more hits with runners in scoring position as well. None of that mattered tonight. They lost.
T.J. McFarland, who was not even at the stadium when the game began, did yeoman's work for the O's, gobbling up three scoreless innings to spare the rest of the bullpen a heavy workload after a short starting pitching outing. McFarland, called up from Norfolk on Friday to replace Kevin Gausman, who hit the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis, struck out three batters in three innings.
Both the fifth and sixth innings brought across two runs for the Orioles. J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty walked to start off the inning, with Hardy scoring on Machado's third single of the night. Adam Jones loaded the bases with another single after there was one out. This proved important as Young followed with what might have been a GIDP ball if Jones hadn't taken out the relay throw with a hard slide. Instead it ended up as an RBI fielder's choice.
At this point, though Yankees starter Adam Warren was only through 4.2 innings, Joe Girardi chose to pull him from the game in favor of a lefty reliever to face Davis. This was the subject of surprised commentary for the rest of the game on the MASN broadcast, but it was smart. It was a crucial situation and you'd rather Davis face any lefty than some mediocre righty starter going through the order for the third time. The reliever was Justin Wilson. Davis struck out.
A two-out rally gave the O's their runs in the sixth. Hardy hit a double, with Flaherty reaching on a hit by pitch. That was the end for Wilson, who was relieved by Chris Martin. Not the Coldplay Chris Martin. Machado welcomed Martin into the game by walking to load the bases, which set the table for two runs to score when Jimmy Paredes hit a single. Paredes and Machado are tied for third on the team in RBI with 14 apiece.
The O's were within one run. They would get no closer. Lurking behind Martin was the thus far unstoppable tandem of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. That tall duo pitched the final 2.1 innings combined. Neither allowed a baserunner and the Orioles were losers dumped into the Friday New York night unceremoniously.
There was one scary moment in the game. With two outs in the fifth inning, Alex Rodriguez hit a triple off of McFarland - the only hit he allowed. That's a scary prospect enough, I know, but what really made it scary was that as Jones gave it his all to try to field the ball, he crashed into the wall and looked to be shaken up for a few moments. Jones stayed in the game, however.
Some spiritual kin to Jeffrey Maier reached over the fence with a glove to try to catch this ball. Better for the Orioles if this idiot did not fail in his effort, because Rodriguez would have been out. This kid failed, just as his parents failed him in allowing him to grow up to be a Yankees fan. McFarland locked things down and Rodriguez didn't score.
It'll be up to Wei-Yin Chen to try to help the Orioles end this losing streak. Chase Whitley will be the Yankees starter in the Saturday afternoon contest. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm.
The important thing to remember about this game is that while the Orioles lost tonight, they'll wake up tomorrow with a chance to win the game, but the Yankees will still have ugly mustaches. Unless they shave them.