Well, you can’t say there wasn’t drama.
Between a no-hit bid and some flirtation with not one but two rallies, the Orioles’ game against the Yankees Tuesday night wasn’t without any suspense.
The Yankees, however, ultimately made sure there wouldn’t be enough. Anthony Rizzo (who hit a trio of home runs) and Joey Gallo went deep off of Jordan Lyles early, Baltimore’s bullpen reverted to 2021 form, and a pair of inspired rallies from a resilient offense fell short in a 12-8 loss to New York in Yankee Stadium.
It looked from the start like it was going to be the Yankees’ night. Lyles, enjoying a solid start to the season, had one of “those days,” struggling frequently to get the last strike or last out he needed to escape trouble. That was the narrative in the third inning, as he allowed a leadoff single to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and a walk to Kyle Higashioka (he of the .121 batting average), then got two outs, then saw the escape bid thwarted when Rizzo hit a 346-foot wall-scraper to right for a 3-0 home run.
(“This guy scares me,” Jim Palmer said two pitches before the homer. It’s like that guy knows pitching or something.)
In the fourth inning, Lyles tried to go down and away but instead went middle and middle, and Gallo tagged the pitch to center for a home run and a 4-0 lead. In the fifth, Lyles again needed one more pitch and again couldn’t find it, as Rizzo turned on a 1-2 offering two batters after a D.J. LeMahieu single and went deep again for a 6-0 advantage.
Meanwhile, the Orioles were getting the bats stuffed down their throats, with Luis Severino looking every bit the pitcher with two Cy Young Award top-10s to his name. He retired the first 14 batters before Austin Hays drew a walk, and he went through 17 batters before finally allowing a soft single to Jorge Mateo with one out in the sixth.
But then, just like that, the Orioles had life. Cedric Mullins drew a walk, putting runners at first and second, and Anthony Santander followed with a twisting fly ball to left field, one that looked like a flyout, one that had Santander momentarily standing still in the box as if wondering what to make of it...but one that nevertheless sailed over Gallo’s head for a three-run homer that cut the gap to 6-3.
The Orioles continued chipping away in the seventh, with Rougned Odor leading off with a double and Ramon Urias knocking him in with a single, but the Yankees struck back in the bottom half off first Bryan Baker and then Paul Fry. After a Giancarlo Stanton RBI single, Gleyber Torres drove a bases-loaded triple into the left-center field gap, scoring all runners and making it 10-4.
And yet...it still wasn’t over. The O’s answered in the top of the eighth, with Trey Mancini singling in Mullins and Hays then turning on a pitch and hitting in 367 feet to left field for a three-run home run with two outs to make it 10-8. For the second time in the night, the Orioles had narrowed a six-run gap to two runs. One game after coming back from a 6-0 deficit against the Angels to tie the game at six, the Orioles were again flirting with a crazy comeback.
And again, it wasn’t to be. After pitching well in the seventh, Alexander Wells buckled in the eighth, giving up solo homers to Aaron Judge and then, yet again, Rizzo to make it 12-8. This time, there was no Oriole response, though they did get two runners on in the ninth.
If there was a positive, it was that the Orioles were presented with multiple opportunities to tune out and focus on the next game, and they continued to fight to make it a battle. The Yankees looked like they’d have an easy night tonight, and the O’s made sure that wouldn’t be the case. If the last two games are any indication, these Orioles have some fight to them.
They just need some pitching. Certainly more than they got Tuesday.