Following yesterday’s 14-11 loss at Yankee Stadium, the grind continued and the Orioles took the field Saturday at 1:05ET on a humid day in the Bronx. Baltimore and New York both entered with 14-7 records and were tied at the top of the American League East.
Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0, 5.95) was opposed by Michael Pineda (2-1, 3.86). This was the fifth start for each in 2017, a matched that pitted two pitchers from the Dominican Republic against one another.
Ubaldo Jimenez takes the bump
Entering Saturday, the Orioles were 4-0 in 2017 when Jimenez started. That was about to change.
Leading off the game, Yankees LF Brett Gardner welcomed Jimenez with a bomb to the second deck in right field. Jimenez settled down and retired the next three Yankees on nine pitches. It was the second straight game Jimenez gave up a leadoff home run. After one inning, it was 1-0 Yankees.
In the second, trouble for Jimenez continued.
After striking out 2B Starlin Castro, SS Didi Gregorius singled to center, RF Aaron Judge walked, as did 1B Greg Bird, loading the bases. C Austin Romine came to the plate and scored Gregorius on a sacrifice fly to Seth Smith in right field. Brett Gardner followed with his second home run on a three-run blast to right field.
At the start of the day, Gardner had zero home runs and zero RBI. After two innings Saturday, he had two home runs and four RBI. The Yankees led 5-0 after two innings and had outscored the Orioles 18-2 going back to the middle of the sixth inning Friday night.
Baltimore pitching woes
Jimenez cruised through the third inning, retiring the Yankees in order, but issues reared their head again in the fourth. Aaron Judge singled to left with one out, Greg Bird walked and Austin Romine scored them both on a single to center making it 7-0.
Jimenez left the game after pitching 3.1 innings – his second straight start going that short amount – throwing 68 pitches, yielding seven runs on five hits, with three walks, four strikeouts and an ERA of 7.43. Four of his five starts in 2017 have not lasted five innings.
Enter Vidal Nuno. Nuno pitched two innings and was chased in the sixth after giving up a two-run homer to Austin Romine. His season ERA is 6.55.
Enter Jayson Aquino. Aquino was also rocked and lasted 1.2 innings, allowing three runs, three hits, a walk and three strikeouts. The big blow was a run scoring double in the seventh to Didi Gregorius, followed by an Aaron Judge home run. His season ERA is 9.00.
Enter Donnie Hart. Hart pitched an uneventful eighth inning and his ERA is 0.00.
The Yankees scored in five of the eight innings where they batted. It is likely the O’s will make a roster move or two to have fresh arms for the game Sunday and in Boston for the following series.
Pineda’s day ends; O’s get on the board
On the day, Michael Pineda went 5.1 innings, giving up one run, walking one and striking out eight. He looked sharp and the Yankees are 4-1 overall in his starts.
RHP Adam Warren relieved Pineda and the O’s showed some offensive life.
Leading off the sixth, Machado doubled, Chris Davis struck out – his tenth multi-strikeout games on the season – and the O’s scored on a Chase Headley throwing error from a ball hit by Mark Trumbo. Then with one down, JJ Hardy lined out to center field, Hyun Soo Kim singled to left and Jonathan Schoop was hit by a pitch loading the bases.
And as irony would have it, Caleb Joseph came to the plate. Joseph had not had an RBI since September 2015, a stretch of 180 at bats. During Joseph’s at bat against Warren, Trumbo scored on a wild pitch (per rule, not an RBI), and then he struck out leaving the bases loaded and the no-RBI streak still alive.
In the ninth, following a Ryan Flaherty single, Joseph ended the streak with a two-run home run making the score 12-4.
Machado, Trumbo look to stay hot
Despite the Friday loss, there were positives. Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo, both off to slow starts this season, started to roll. Machado was 3-5 and hit a 470-foot home run to center field, the longest in MLB this season. Trumbo was 3-6, including a grand slam to left field in the sixth.
Looking to continue the trend in the right direction on Saturday, Machado was 1-4 with a walk, run scored and he hit the ball well with several solid at-bats that ended in outs. Trumbo was 0-4 with a walk and one run scored. Trumbo’s average on the season is .202.
April ends tomorrow
Tomorrow is the final game in April for the Orioles. Despite the last two days in New York, the month should be considered a success. Only the Yankees and Houston Astros have more wins in the American League and this series is the first the O’s have lost during 2017.
Obviously, areas of concern exist. Topping the list is the pitching of Kevin Gausman and the bottom end of the rotation, as well as injuries to Chris Tillman and Zach Britton. But, a short month, where every game but three was against the AL East, that ends with 14 or 15 wins has a lot of positives to build on.
Notes and looking to Sunday
Caleb Joseph started Saturday afternoon after the long Friday behind the plate by Wellington Castillo. Castillo will play Sunday.
With his first inning single, Adam Jones has hit safely in 19 of 22 games this season. Joey Rickard replaced Jones in center field in the eighth inning.
Jonathan Schoop has 14 RBI in the last 15 games and is tied for the team lead with five home runs.
Ryan Flaherty came on in the seventh to play second base.
Trey Mancini pinch hit for Chris Davis in the eighth inning and grounded out to shortstop. Mancini struck out in the ninth with O’s on first and second.
Chris Davis has only one RBI in the O’s last 12 games. He was 0-3 on Saturday.
The Orioles have 30 home runs through their first 22 games.
The O’s have played the Yankees five times this April and their record is two wins and three losses.
The Yankees are 10-1 at home during 2017.
Chris Tillman will make another rehab start on Tuesday for the Norfolk Tides in Charlotte, NC.
Zach Britton will pitch an inning Sunday for Bowie on his path back from injury.
Sunday at 1:05ET the Orioles close the series at Yankee Stadium. LHP Wade Miley (1-1, 2.08) is scheduled to face rookie LHP Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 3.78).