The Orioles used a wild seventh inning to flip a one-run deficit to a one run lead, and Baltimore appeared to be on its way to evening the series. But that all changed with one swing of the bat.
With two on and two out, reliever Miguel Castro hung an absolute gift of a slider to Clint Frazier. Frazier didn’t miss, and drove the the ball for a no doubt, three-run home run. Neither team would score again, and the Orioles fell to the Yankees 6-4 at Camden Yards.
The Yankees nearly broke things open in the top of the sixth. Nate Karns plunked Gary Sanchez to start the inning, and Gleyber Torres followed with a single. DJ LeMahieu singled to load the bases, and chased Karns from the game.
With Paul Fry on the mound, Orioles catcher Pedro Severino used a snap throw to third to pick off Sanchez. Sanchez did not dive when he retreated back to the base, and his foot slipped off the bag while Hanser Alberto held the tag. Fry struck out Frazier, and forced Gio Urshela to ground out and end the threat. Fry stayed on in the seventh and sent the Yankees down in order for the first time tonight.
After nearly seeing the game slip out of reach in the sixth, the Orioles battled back in the bottom of the seventh. Cedric Mullins reached when a slider bounced off his toe. Jonathan Villar stepped up, and Mullins broke for second. The hit and run worked perfectly, and the Orioles had runners on the corners before an out was recorded.
The Yankees called for relief pitcher Adam Ottavino, and the Orioles responded with a pinch hitter. That hitter had not recorded a hit in his last 37 plate appearances. Chris Davis bounced a ground ball to first, but Greg Bird bobbled the ball and his throw home came too late. Somehow, sending Chris Davis to the plate benefited the Orioles, and the game was all square at three.
The small ball theme continued throughout the inning. The Orioles sent Rio Ruiz to pinch hit, and Villar broke for third. Villar managed to beat the tag, and brought the go-ahead run only 90 feet away. Ruiz blasted a fly ball to the warning track in center field, and Villar scored with ease. The stolen base made the difference, and Baltimore held a 4-3 advantage.
Fry stayed out to pick up the first out of the eighth, but manager Brandon Hyde summoned Miguel Castro to face Sanchez. The Yankee catcher popped out, but Castro walked Torres on four pitches. LeMahieu singled to right field and Frazier stepped in representing the go-ahead run. Castro just missed the strike zone with several pitches in the inning, but his slider to Frazier caught far too much of the plate. After the homer, Castro struck out Urshela to end the inning, but the damage had been done.
Baltimore attempted a rally in the bottom half of the eighth. Alberto worked a walk to get things started, and Mullins took a 94 MPH fastball to the jersey to put the tying-run aboard. The inning appeared to end when Jonathan Villar bounced a ball up the middle, and Mullins was called out at second base. After further review, Mullins was ruled safe, and the bases were loaded for Davis.
Davis quickly fell behind 0-2 before working the count even. He laced a hard-hit ground ball to first base to end the inning. I can’t imagine a better time to bust out of a slump than with the bases loaded against the Yankees, but apparently Davis is saving his first hit of the season for an even better moment.
The Yankees summoned flame thrower Aroldis Chapman to close out the game. Pinch hitter Jesús Sucre lined a one-out base hit to left field, but the Orioles couldn’t handle the heat. Baltimore fell to 4-4 on the young season, and officially lost its first series of the year.
Aaron Judge homered in his first two at bats for New York. He rocked a solo shot 412 feet to dead center in the top of the first, and a two-run bomb that traveled 418 feet in the third.
Orioles starter Dylan Bundy through 85 pitches in only 3.2 innings, and was pulled after the second home run by Judge. The long-ball continued to plague Bundy, and you can’t help but expect more trouble moving forward. At some point, it’s no longer surprising that a fly ball pitcher continues to struggle at a hitters park in the AL East.
Trey Mancini got the Orioles on the board with a home run in the bottom of the first. Mancini finished 2-5, and was the only Oriole with multiple hits. Dwight Smith Jr. recorded a hit for a career-high eighth straight game.
This loss feels somewhat significant for Baltimore. They were done in by a three-run homer for the second consecutive game, and the home crowd watched the club squander another lead. It’s entirely possible that the Orioles have played their last game above .500. No one expected Baltimore to compete this year, but hopefully they can stave off the inevitable a little longer tomorrow afternoon in the series finale.