The Yankees came into this game as pretty much a must-win. Clinging to a playoff spot, they can’t afford to lose to the Orioles. The Orioles went in tonight trying to play spoiler, but instead they were the team everyone expected them to be. Bad pitching, no hitting, you know the drill. But it was at least a low drama loss, you know? A nice run-of-the-mill 7-2 defeat.
It feels unlikely that Alexander Wells will ever be good enough to be a regular member of a major league starting rotation. I am rooting for him! But it feels unlikely. Tonight’s game didn’t help that feeling. The fireworks got started for the Yankees right away, when DJ LaMahieu singled and Aaron Judge followed with his 34th homered to right field. The 2-0 lead for the Yankees was all they would need, but wasn’t all they’d get.
In the third inning the Yankees were both lucky and good. After Wells hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch, Giancarlo Stanton hit a fly ball to right field. A pop up really. Except that it popped itself right over the railing onto the flag court. The next batter, though, didn’t hit a cheapie. Luke Voit crushed a curveball to the back of the seats in left field. It got out of the park really fast. Very quickly.
The back-to-back dingers weren’t the only trouble Wells got into in the inning; he also gave up a single and a walk but got out of the inning with the score 5-0.
Wells finally got his 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, but it was the last inning he’d have. Five runs in four innings just isn’t going to cut it, Alex.
Eric Hanhold and Marcos Diplán put in good work, pitching a combined three scoreless innings. Poor Spenser Watkins came in for the final two innings, giving up one homer per inning.
As for the O’s offense, they had a few chances against Gerrit Cole but couldn’t do anything with them. That’s not how you beat Gerrit Cole, Orioles! They wasted a bases loaded situation in the first inning after Cedric Mullins doubled to lead off and both Trey Mancini and Austin Hays walked with two outs, but Ramón Urías struck out on a 3-2 count.
Cole did Cole things in innings 2, 3, and 4 but the Orioles finally broke through in the fifth. Pat Valaika (welcome back!) singled and came in to score on a double from Ryan Mountcastle. Anthony Santander walked but DJ Stewart struck out to end the inning.
Cole was out after just five innings, having topped 100 pitches thanks to the long first and fifth innings, but the Yankees relief corps got the job done, although there was a little drama right at the end.
Michael King pitched three innings with his only blemish being a walk to Austin Hays, the first batter he faced. And Sal Romano came in to pitch the ninth but couldn’t get the job done.
It started with one and out and two unlikely suspects. Austin Wynns singled, Pat Valaika walked, and Kelvin Gutierrez singled back up the middle. Wynns chugged home to make the score 7-2, and Romano was done.
The Yankees opted to bring in villain Aroldis Chapman to face the top of the order. I am sad to say, it worked. Mullins and Mountcastle struck out to end the game. Orioles lose.