<insert Nicolas Cage “You don’t say?” meme>
The Orioles also assured they’ll have a losing record in 2019.
<insert “O RLY?” owl>
Yes. Truly shocking developments happening at Yankee Stadium this afternoon.
The 2019 Orioles/Yankees rivalry was the most one-sided affair since the Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals. Since Mike Tyson vs. Glass Joe. Since fly vs. windshield. Ugh, what a mess.
The Yankees finished the series sweep, their fifth straight over the Orioles, with a 6-5 win, their 16th consecutive victory against the hapless Birds. The season series ended in favor of the Yankees, 17 wins to two. My goodness! How’d the Orioles ever win two? (And Mike Wright saved one of them? That first weekend was a strange time, man.)
The loss was also the Orioles’ 82nd of the year, which officially clinches a losing record for the Birds this year. Dang it! There goes my dream.
Let me go back to the Yankees thing, though. 2-17 in the season series? That kind of ineptitude is incredibly hard to accomplish, even for a rebuilding team against one of MLB’s behemoths. It simply doesn’t happen. A team, no matter how bad, can usually at least luck its way into a few fluke victories against a much more talented opponent. Not the Orioles, apparently. Not since that wild weekend of Mike Wright.
It didn’t take long for this game to follow the same script as so many Orioles/Yankees tilts before it. After the O’s took a lead in the top of the first on a Jonathan Villar RBI single, the Yankees were like, “OK, time to just score all the runs.” And they laid a four-spot on poor Dylan Bundy before he even got two outs.
Bundy didn’t do himself any favors by walking the leadoff batter, although, if you walk a guy, you can’t give up a home run to him. Think about it! You can, however, give up a home run to any number of the hitters who follow him. In this case, that was Gary Sanchez, who followed Didi Gregorius’ game-tying RBI single with a three-run blast to straightaway center. It was the Yankees’ 62nd home run of the year against the Orioles, which, how is that even a thing? Still, it proved to be their only roundtripper of the game. I consider that a moral victory.
Sanchez’s homer was his 10th against the Orioles this year. Paired with Gleyber Torres’ 13, they’re the only pair of teammates with 10+ homers against a single team in a season besides Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig against the Red Sox in 1927. Not just the only pair of Yankees teammates, mind you. The only pair of teammates, period. The Orioles are making all kinds of major league history this year.
The Orioles were down big after one inning, 4-1, and they spent the rest of the afternoon playing catch-up, at which they never quite succeeded. Yankees starter J.A. Happ wasn’t particularly sharp but managed to gut through six innings, giving up two runs (the second on a Pedro Severino RBI single in the third). Happ worked his way out of other jams, leaving the bases loaded in the first by striking out Jace Peterson, then stranding two in the third on a Peterson flyout.
Bundy, meanwhile, settled down after that rough first inning. He followed it with four scoreless frames, then retired the first two batters of the sixth. Sadly, he couldn’t find that elusive third out. Sanchez singled and Torres doubled, prompting Brandon Hyde to summon lefty Richard Bleier, who allowed both inherited runners to score on a Mike Ford single. That gave the Yankees a 6-2 edge, which seemed like piling on at the time but proved to be essential insurance runs.
The Orioles’ last, best rally came in the seventh. A double and a walk off Luis Cessa brought up Renato Nunez with two outs. The O’s DH, already 3-for-3 on the day, swatted a double into the left-field corner that plated both runners, shaving the lead in half. It was Nunez’s first career four-hit game (and he wasn’t done). Villar then greeted Adam Ottavino with an RBI double to center, suddenly making it a 6-5 game. Hey, the Orioles are showing some life! They might actually have a chance to win this! Could it be?
...No, it could not. Pinch-hitter Chance Sisco flicked his bat at an Ottavino 2-2 offering in the dirt, with third base umpire Marvin Hudson ruling he swung (based on replays, I’m not so sure). Inning over, threat over, and the Orioles didn’t score again. Zack Britton worked past a leadoff walk in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman nailed down the save in the ninth, despite Nunez lashing a single to complete a fantastic 5-for-5 day. Villar struck out swinging for the final out, and the Yankees had added one final notch to their dominant 2019 season against the Orioles.
Kudos to you, Yankees. Now go away until 2020.