The Orioles were undone on Saturday night by poor play in the field, with one official error but countless other mental mistakes. In this game, they proved how hard it is to win when you give the other team extra outs. Especially when you’re facing a team as good as the Yankees, who are 7-3 in their last 10 games and trying to chase down the first place Red Sox.
The Orioles lost big in game one by seven runs and the Yankees took their opportunity in game two to pounce on the O’s when they were down. The game was not scoreless for long. There wasn’t even an out before the Yankees scored their first run. Plus, the Orioles had two defensive miscues in the inning that won’t even show up in the box score.
Cedric Mullins misplayed a ball over his head in center, turning the wrong way in pursuit, resulting in a ground rule double to Brett Gardner to start the game. After Giancarlo Stanton walked, Aaron Hicks hit a ground ball single into right field, on which the second miscue came. Craig Gentry’s throw went all the way home — too late to nail Gardner — instead of hitting the cutoff man, which allowed Stanton to take third. Luckily, Cashner escaped the jam by picking Hicks off of first, striking out Miguel Andujar and getting Neil Walker to fly out.
The Yankees were back at it again in the second, loading the bases on three singles. Then Cashner threw a wild pitch and Gleyber Torres scored from third. It was Cashner’s fifth wild pitch of the year. On a ground ball to first base, Trey Mancini had a play at home but his throw bounced to Caleb Joseph’s right, allowing Austin Romine to score. The inning ended one batter later on a double play, with the Yankees ahead 3-0.
New York threatened again in the third, but the Orioles escaped without any damage on a spectacular play by Jace Peterson on a ball deflected off Mancini’s glove and a runner thrown out on the back end of a double steal.
The Orioles had a prime chance to escape trouble in the fourth, but allowed extra outs to New York and paid for it again. One of the runners in the inning, Ronald Torreyes, reached base on an error when Mancini failed to come up with a low throw from Jonathan Villar.
With runners on first and second and one out, Cashner fielded a come-backer and turned to throw to second, but Villar and Peterson nearly collided at second as they both tried to cover the bag. Peterson ended up taking the ball and getting the out at second, but his throw to first was late and they couldn’t turn the double play.
The very next batter, Stanton, launched a long single off the out of town scoreboard in right, driving home the Yankees fourth run of the night and punctuating the earlier miscues in the infield.
Not only were things rough in the field, but Sonny Gray also had the Orioles baffled at the plate. He had his curveball and slider working in this one, getting three strikeouts with the former and three with the latter. In total, he had seven strikeouts on the night in 6.1 innings with three hits allowed and one walk.
Cashner retired the last eight batters he faced, showing poise after things around him had fallen apart earlier in the game. When he exited after seven innings, his pitch count was at 112. He allowed four runs (three earned), nine hits, two walks and four strikeouts.
The Yankees tacked on a fifth run in the top of the ninth on a solo home run by Romine. Miguel Castro served it up, one inning after a scoreless eighth in which he worked around a couple of singles. In six innings over his last seven games, Castro has allowed 10 runs. He escaped the ninth with no further damage. His final pitching line was two innings, three hits, one run and two strikeouts on 31 pitches.
An all too familiar sight this year occurred again tonight, with the Orioles trailing in the ninth inning and making just enough noise to prolong the game but ultimately falling short of a comeback. Runners were on the corners with two outs when Peterson blooped an RBI single to right to end the shutout. 5-1, Yankees.
The Yankees were forced to take out Tommy Kahnle and bring on Dellin Betances to get the final out. Now John Andreoli was on second base and Peterson on first, with the tying run in the on-deck circle. A pitch bounced away from Romine at the plate and Andreoli advanced to third. But Joseph struck out on the very next pitch.
New York swept the doubleheader and they lead the series three games to none. Tomorrow is the series finale, where Luis Severino (16-6, 3.28 ERA) will oppose Dylan Bundy (7-12, 5.31 ERA). Once again, the Orioles will try to avoid the sweep.