After a week of increasingly-grotesque failure, the Orioles finally won a dang baseball game again. They returned to Oriole Park at Camden Yards and snapped their losing streak and their one-run game losing streak all in one go with a 3-2 victory over the Yankees.
The stars were aligned beforehand to help the Orioles get a win. Although the O’s were without Adam Jones for a third straight game, it’s hard not to feel good when it’s Dylan Bundy’s day to pitch. With as many problems as the team has had in the middle sections of their bullpen, it’s great to get the pitcher who has yet to go fewer than six innings in a game.
The O’s were able to strike first in the game, forcing Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery to throw more than 30 pitches in the first inning. That’s the kind of stuff it seems like the O’s haven’t been able to do much lately or this year in general.
Joey Rickard got the party started by leading off the game with a single. He advanced on a groundout and was still standing there with two outs. Mark Trumbo poked a single to left field to score Rickard, putting the O’s on the board. Despite another Welington Castillo single, the O’s couldn’t score again in the inning. It had the feeling of one of those innings where they would regret not scoring more.
The regrets didn’t take very long to materialize when the Yankees tied the game in the top of the second inning. Bundy hit Starlin Castro with a pitch to start the inning. Bundy buckled down against the ever-dangerous Aaron Judge, getting Judge to hit a harmless fly ball... or at least it should have been, but Rickard and Trumbo nearly ran into one another as Trumbo caught the ball, and Castro was able to tag from first to second on the play when Trumbo didn’t recover to throw in quickly.
This quickly hurt the O’s: Castro moved up to third when Didi Gregorius delivered an infield single, a sharp shot that deflected off Chris Davis’s glove. Castro probably should have scored on the play, though he still ended up scoring thanks to a fly ball to right field hit by Aaron Hicks. Here we go again.
It was the Yankees who made the next mistake. With one out in the third inning, Trumbo reached base on an error. That allowed the O’s to eventually spark a two out rally. A Trey Mancini base hit put two men on base. Jonathan Schoop sliced a line drive into the right field corner, driving in both runners and putting the Orioles back on top.
That cushion proved to be all that a dominant Bundy needed for the day. Four of his seven innings saw him retire the Yankees in order, helped out by three separate double plays, including one unconventional fly ball double play.
After a double to lead off the third inning, Brett Gardner chose to try to tag up and head to third base on a fly ball to left field. Mancini fired a strike to Machado at third base. Gardner was out and Mancini collected his first career outfield assist. There were also a pair of more typical ground ball double plays.
The Orioles threatened again in the fifth inning, when Trumbo and Castillo singled with one out and chased Montgomery from the game. However, from the moment that the Yankees bullpen took over, starting with Jonathan Holder, the O’s did not get another hit in the game. They would need to make do with what they had.
After clearing six innings with a reasonable pitch count, there was no doubt Bundy would be pitching the seventh. Bundy opened the inning by getting Judge to chase a high pitch for a strikeout; unfortunately, the home plate and first base umpires were concentrating on something other than the game and missed the call.
Judge took advantage of this extra life to crush a home run to center field, his MLB-leading 17th of the season. Judge broke ahead of Mike Trout with that dinger. Sometimes bad luck goes against you and it’s up to you how you will respond.
The Orioles were up to the task in holding on to this one. Bundy finished the seventh without incident, and although he had “only” 95 pitches, manager Buck Showalter chose to call on Darren O’Day for the eighth inning and then Brad Brach for the ninth. None of the six batters faced by O’Day or Brach reached base.
For all the problems they’ve had earlier in the year, they were on fire today. Brach, in particular, was lighting up the radar gun. He admitted in post-game remarks with the MASN broadcasters that he was amped up with some extra emotion with his first batter faced - Castro - being the guy who hit the home run in that disappointing game in New York earlier in the season.
Over his seven innings, Bundy held the Yankees to seven hits and one walk. But for one rough play made by a couple of non-outfielders in the outfield and two inattentive umpires at the wrong moment, he could have been pitching a shutout. Bundy has now started the season with eleven consecutive 6+ inning outings, and has quality starts in ten of eleven games. He deserves even better than his 6-3 record.
One win doesn’t solve all of the Orioles problems, but it does stop their losing streak and, since it came against the Yankees, it peels back one of the games they lost in the division. They’re now 3.5 games back. They can only win one game at a time. Tomorrow is another day.
The series continues on Tuesday evening at the standard civilized baseball time of 7:05. Chris Tillman and Luis Severino are the scheduled starters for the game.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for Memorial Day, 2017?
This poll is closed
Dylan Bundy (the only good starting pitcher)
Jonathan Schoop (two-run double made the difference)
Trey Mancini (1-4, first outfield assist)
Brad Brach (drama-free ninth; 10th save)