The Yankees entered this game at 8-15, in last place in the AL East. Their offense is anemic and their pitching isn’t any good either, which led to a -31 run differential, 26th-worst in the sport. They didn’t do themselves any favors tonight, ending with a -34 run differential. The Orioles started on a much different note, a half-game back in the AL East on the strength of a solid winning April.
Chris Tillman pitched well. He became the second Orioles pitcher this season to get through 7 innings, he struck out 9, and he was charged with one earned run. On the downside, he walked four batters and benefitted from some luck. In the top of the 6th inning, with runners on first and second base and none out, Carlos Beltran got around on a fastball. Luckily the potential Hall of Famer put a weak swing on it or it would’ve gone over the wall. As it was it settled easily into Mark Trumbo’s glove.
The next batter, Starlin Castro, lined a 2-2 pitch hard the other way. Luckily it was right at Jonathan Schoop, and even more luckily Schoop fired to Chris Davis who doubled the runner off. Two inches to the right and it would’ve been a single, possibly scoring a run.
Still, give credit where credit is due. Tillman threw 93-94 MPH heat all night and mixed in his floating knuckle-curve to good effect. His good start helped out the bullpen that’s missing its closer, enabling Brad Brach to bridge to Darren O’Day who got the save easily.
He had some good help from the bats. As he’s done all season, Trumbo showed off his power in a big way. He whomped two home runs, one a solo shot in the bottom of the 2nd that tied the game at 1 and the second a two-run jack that boosted a 2-1 lead to a 4-1 lead. Both came on fastballs inside and off the plate.
The other player on the field that helped the Orioles’ cause was, funnily enough, the opposing starting pitcher. Twice, Orioles players grounded directly to Mark Teixeira who attempted to complete the 3-1 putout at first base. Twice, Luis Severino dropped the ball and all runners were safe.
When this happened in the bottom of the 2nd, Wieters held up at third base on account of him being, well … slow. Still, the play loaded the bases for Manny Machado. Visions of grand slams, or maybe just bases clearing doubles, danced in fans’ heads, but Manny popped out on the first pitch.
Thankfully when it happened (again! The same thing!) two innings later, Jonathan Schoop scored from second base, breaking the 1-1 tie. No doubt Severino’s going to get extra pitcher fielding practice for a few weeks.
Finally, what would the night be without a stellar play from Manny Machado? Playing shortstop tonight in the place of an injured J.J. Hardy, Machado made a stellar play, a strong off-balance throw, to rob Alex Rodriguez of a hit and end the top of the 5th inning. Check it out here. Credit Davis with the pick as well.
With the win, the Orioles rise to 15-10 while the Yankees skid to 8-16. The veteran CC Sabathia will oppose the rookie Tyler Wilson in the second game of the series. Game time's at 7:05 PM Eastern.