The Orioles and Yankees played a close game tonight at Camden Yards, a 2-0 lead that held up thanks to a great game by the Orioles pitching staff. It was an unusual sort of win for the Birds, but a win all the same!
For the second time in a week Kevin Gausman and CC Sabathia faced off in a game, and for the second time in a week they were both good, but Gausman was better. I could get used to that!
In fact, Gausman has shown a recent dominance against the Yankees, having not allowed a run over his last 15 innings pitched against them. Might we have a Yankee killer on our hands? Dare we dream?
Gausman wasn’t perfect tonight, but he started off the game looking that way. He struck out first four batters he faced before allowing his first hit of the game, which he followed up with an inning ending double play.
After adding two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning, Gausman faltered in the the fourth. With one out he loaded the bases on a walk, an infield single, and a HBP. The Yankees weren’t beating him at that point, he was beating himself. He didn’t break, getting a strike out and a fly out to strand the runners, but he did throw 30 pitches.
It looked early on like Gausman could pitch deep into the game, but that inning doomed that. Goose finished the fifth inning with 100 pitches, and when he came back out for the sixth I was a little surprised. The Orioles haven’t had the greatest luck with their middle relief, so perhaps that’s why.
Gausman rewarded Buck Showalter’s faith in him with his most efficient inning of the game in the sixth. He needed only six pitches for a quick 1-2-3 inning and with that his day was done. It was a great bounce back and overall a very good game for the guy who just might be the best pitcher in the O’s rotation at the moment.
Thanks in part to another strong game for Sabathia against the O’s, Gausman was only able to turn a 2-0 lead over to the bullpen. The Orioles had runners on against Sabathia in every inning, but it wasn’t until the fourth that they finally pushed a run across the plate.
With Mark Trumbo on second base thanks to a leadoff double, Chris Davis hit a broken-bat bloop that fell into right field just in front of Aaron Judge. Trumbo had held up to make sure it wasn’t caught and was probably only going to make it to third base, but Judge bobbled the ball in the outfield and allowed Trumbo to score. Thanks, Yankees!
The Orioles added their second run in their traditional fashion: a home run. With two outs and no runners on, Jones hit a home run that just got out of the park in left field.
Just like Gausman, Sabathia made it through the sixth inning, so for the final three it was up to Orioles bullpen to hold the lead and up to the Yankees bullpen to keep the game in reach. Both did their jobs, but it turns out that how well the Yankees bullpen did didn’t matter.
It looked like the Orioles were gonna break the game open in the seventh when Adam Warren came in to pitch. A double from J.J. Hardy and a Baltimore Chop single from pinch hitter Michael Bourn put runners on the corners with no outs for Caleb Joseph.
Poor Caleb has gone this entire season without an RBI, 121 plate appearances coming into tonight. This seemed like the best chance he was going to get. Runners on first and third with no outs? There were so many ways he could get an RBI! I was ready for it!
Caleb, however, was not. He hit a weak ball just in front of the plate. Hardy broke for the plate and found himself in a rundown and when all was said and done it was runners on first and second with one out. Poor Caleb.
After Jones struck out, Steve Pearce took his second walk of the game to load the bases for Manny Machado, who was a lifetime 8-for-12 against Warren. Well, make that 8-for-13 has Warren struck him out to end the inning. Would that missed opportunity come back to haunt the Orioles? (Spoiler: no).
The Orioles bullpen did exactly what was needed of them. Mychal Givens and Brad Brach each gave up one in their inning pitched, with Givens turning a sweet 1-6-3 double play.
As for Zach Britton, he is so consistently good this year that we hardly even need to point it out. He pitched another filthy 1-2-3 inning to capture his 40th save on the season. His ERA is now 0.65.
The Orioles will go for the sweep tomorrow with Wade Miley taking the mound for the Orioles against Michael Pineda for the Yankees. After that they head out on a huge road trip for three games each against the Rays, Tigers, and Red Sox.
For you scoreboard watchers, the Blue Jays lost tonight which allowed the Orioles to pull within two games of the division. The Red Sox are out on the west coast so their game is in progress as of this writing, but they are currently putting another smackdown onto the A’s. They will likely be tied for first when their game ends.
In the Wild Card race, the Royals beat the Tigers, which is good news. That means the Orioles now have sole possession of the second wild card spot. The Astros, another WC hopeful, lost today, and the Mariners (who are basically out of it) are losing big to the Angels on the west coast.