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Six-run fifth inning lifts O's 8-1 over Yankees

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Gallardo goes six strong and Schoop hase a five-RBI night.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Orioles offense has returned. It did so at a rainy Yankee Stadium on Friday night in the form of eight runs on eight walks and 10 hits, including three dongs in one marvelous inning.

The rain poured (or at least misted) down the entire game. On two instances that I can recall, the Yankees players slipped while trying to make a play in the field. If it were the middle of the summer, similar conditions would have likely led to a postponement. But it’s the last weekend of the season and MLB needs to squeeze these games in. For the O’s, it worked out.

Yovani Gallardo went to the bump for the Birds and looked really great, continuing the Orioles stellar month of pitching. His line: 102 pitches, six innings, one run, two hits, four walks and three strikeouts.

Through his first three innings of work, Gallardo didn’t allow any hits. The only two base runners reached on a catcher’s interference and a walk. In the fourth inning, however, he did run into some trouble.

Chase Headley led off with a walk. Gary Sanchez followed with what looked like a tailor-made 4-6-3 double play, but J.J. Hardy’s throw to first base pulled Chris Davis off the bag, leaving the Yankees with one out and Sanchez at first. That mistake would come back to bite. A Brian McCann single moved Sanchez to third, where he would score on a Mark Teixeira sacrifice fly moments later. That proved to be the extent of the Bombers offense for the night.

Beyond that, the O’s starter was in control and it was nice to see, of course. This could very well be the last time we see Gallardo in action this season. Obviously, he won’t make another start in the regular season. In the playoffs, many teams have no need to go beyond their third-best starter. For the Orioles, those top three have to be Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman and Ubaldo Jimenez. It wasn’t always pretty this year, but you brought your A-game at a very important point in the season, so thanks for that, Yo!

Dong party

The eight runs the O’s put up are the most they have scored in 20 days (11-3 win in Detroit on September 10). So, no matter how you slice it, this was a good day for the bats.

The first three innings weren’t great. The team went hitless with three walks. But in the fourth they got on the board thanks to the newly-hot Jonathan Schoop. The O’s second baseman drove in Hardy and Chris Davis with a double after the pair of them reached on back-to-back singles. At the time, these runs seemed huge; the rain was coming down and it looked like there may only be enough time to get in five innings. That ended up not being the case, but it still felt clutch.

After the Yanks got their one measly run in the bottom of the inning, the Birds blew the lead wide open in the fifth inning. That’s right, it was a dong party. Adam Jones led off with a mammoth dong to the second deck in left field. Two batters later, Mark Trumbo joined the celebration with his league-leading 46th 47th dong of the season, driving in Hyun Soo Kim in the process. And then Schoop got involved again, smacking his 25th dong, this one of the line drive variety, with Davis (double) and Hardy (walk) on base ahead of him. This gave us the 8-1 final score right there. Offense, it’s good to have you back again

Still some stuggles

That’s not to say they are totally fixed. We know about the Orioles ability to hit home runs; it’s well documented. However, they are still struggling to produce with runners in scoring position when they don’t go deep.

In the eighth inning, the Birds loaded the bases with no outs. Yet, they couldn’t even score one run in the inning. Not one? Put a ball in play on the ground and you probably score at least one, who knows with the field conditions. Instead, it was two flyouts and a strikeout. Woof.

A similar situation in the ninth, men on first and second with one out. Nothing good happens. Schoop flys out, Bourn singles (but no one scores) and Jones grounds out. I get it, they were up by a ton and it didn’t matter. But scoring one in the eighth inning, at least, would have made me feel a little better.

The bullpen is solid...again!

Following Gallardo’s solid start, the bullpen took the baton and ran with it, as they have done all season.

Brian Duensing was the first one to get the call. He tossed a perfect seventh inning, striking out one. It seems unlikely that Donnie Hart will be the lone middle-relief lefty for the playoffs, so Duensing will have to be ready. It was good to get him another inning of work here.

Darren O’Day followed and made his first appearance in a week. The submariner did the exact same thing as Duensing: one inning, no hits, one strikeout. O’Day is no longer the go-to late-inning reliever, but he could join Tommy Hunter as bridge guy for the fifth or sixth inning in the postseason.

And Tyler Wilson finished it out. He struggled, loading the bases on a hit and two walks, but he worked out of it without allowing a run and that is impressive given the weather. Will Wilson make the postseason roster? Probably not, but his name is Tyler and he wears stirrups, so he’s cool.

Tomorrow

It's Game two of the series. The O's send new dad Wade Miley (2-5, 6.38 ERA) to the hill. The Yankees will counter with righty Luis Severino (3-8, 5.75). First pitch is at 4:05 p.m. on MASN. It's a big game for the O's because they are now the number one wild card seed as the Blue Jays lost to the Red Sox 5-3 tonight at Fenway Park. A win tomorrow would be HUGE!