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Orioles drop game one to Yankees 6-5 in extra innings

The O’s lost their 18th straight game against the Yankees at Camden Yards. To make it worse, they may have also lost Anthony Santander.

MLB: Game One-New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

For the 18th straight matchup in Baltimore, the Orioles have lost to the Yankees. This 6-5 defeat came in the first game of a doubleheader on Friday afternoon at Camden Yards.

It wasn’t ALL bad, though.

Cedric Mullins kicked off the game with a bang. The Orioles centerfielder, known for his bunting acumen as of late, instead opted to swing away, and it proved to be a wise decision. Mullins smacked a low and inside fastball into the right-field bleachers, giving the O’s an early 1-0 lead.

Thomas Eshelman started on the mound for the Orioles following a last-minute scratch of Alex Cobb due to an IL trip with an undisclosed cause. Eshelman, a soft-tossing righty,the has been a pleasant surprise working in a swingman role for the Birds. But this start was not his finest effort.

The visiting Yankees tied things at one run apiece in the top of the second inning with a Gary Sanchez solo home run that landed well beyond the left-field fence.

Things got worse in the third inning. Tyler Wade reached base on an error by Renato Nunez and then made it to third on a single from DJ LeMahieu. A Luke Voit walk loaded the bases with no outs. Brett Gardner plated two with a single up the middle, and Clint Frazier walked to load the bases right back up again.

Eshelman would manage to retire Mike Ford before he was lifted in favor of Branden Kline. Asking Kline to make his 2020 debut against the Yankees with the bases loaded and one out was a tough test, but he (mostly) passed. The hard-throwing righty struck out the first batter he faced, Sanchez, but then walked in a run before striking out Thairo Estrada to end the inning. He limited the damage, and got the O’s out of trouble while trailing just 4-1. That might earn him a few more relief chances.

New York starter Michael King couldn’t keep the host Orioles down for long. He tossed scoreless innings in the second and third, but was unable to extend that run into the fourth frame.

Hanser Alberto led off the inning with a single. Two batters later, Rio Ruiz rose from the dead and notched his seventh home run of the season and his first since August 15th. This one was of the two-run variety and pulled the Orioles within one run of the Evil Empire.

An inning later it was Renato Nunez’s turn to leave the yard. Ben Heller took over for King, and immediately lost the lead as Nunez launched a badly hung curveball into the Orioles bullpen, where Travis Lakins Sr. made a celebratory catch as the O’s tied things up at 4-4.

Neither team would score over the next two innings, although the Orioles would come close in the sixth. They loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a single, but two of their best bats, Pedro Severino and Jose Iglesias couldn’t drive in any runs.

The Orioles bullpen, for their part, kept the Yankees bats quiet. Evan Phillips, Dillion Tate and Hunter Harvey delivered a scoreless inning apiece. And since this game was part of a double-header in 2020, that sent things to extras after just seven completed frames.

Tanner Scott came on for the eighth, and things got dicey quick. His first pitch to Mike Tauchman was a fastball way off the plate, and Bryan Holaday was unable to handle it. That moved Sanchez, who started the extra inning at second base, to third with no outs. Then Tauchman walked. A run (if not more) seemed to be inevitable for the Yankees.

But Scott got to work. He induced a weak line drive off the bat the bat of Estrada, which shortstop Ramon Urias handled easily. Then, the flame-throwing lefty forced pinch hitter Aaron Hicks to hit a soft ground ball to second baseman Pat Valaika, who stepped on second and threw to first for an inning-ending double play.

This appeared to give the Orioles a big advantage. They needed to score just one run in the bottom of the eighth, and they would start with a runner on second base. Easy, right?

Not exactly. The Orioles did get a runner to third base with one out in their half of the eighth inning, but couldn’t get him any farther as Dilson Herrera struck out and Santander flew out to end the threat.

It would be the Yankees that broke the deadlock in extras. In the top of the ninth inning, LeMahieu moved the runner at second, Jonathan Holder (a pitcher), to third on a ground out, and Miguel Andujar plated that runner with a single to right field. After a Brett Gardner walk, Frazier knocked in Andujar to extend the Yankees lead to 6-4.

The Orioles would manage to score in the bottom of the ninth inning, but it wouldn’t be enough. Iglesias singled to give the O’s runners on the corners with no outs, but a run-scoring Nunez double play killed any potential rally. Yankees reliever Chad Green retired Holaday to end the game.

To rub salt in the wound, Santander, arguably the Orioles best player, left the game in the eighth inning with what manager Brandon Hyde called an oblique injury. It is unclear, at this moment, how serious the injury may be and how long he will be out. We should learn more soon.

These two teams play face off once more today. Jorge Lopez will take the mound for the O’s. He will be opposed by righty Deivi Garcia, who will be making just his second career major league appearance. First pitch is just a few minutes away.