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Orioles rally from behind against the Yankees, but a tired bullpen can’t hold on in extras, 7-6

The Orioles’ extra-innings luck ran out on Tuesday, as Bryan Baker coughed up the game in the eleventh inning.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees
The Orioles took full advantage of the New York short porch in right, but the bullpen squandered the lead in extras.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Familiarity breeds contempt, is a thing I have definitely heard people say. On Tuesday, yet another Orioles-Yankees matchup headed by Jordan Montgomery and Bruce Zimmermann prompted MASN’s Kevin Brown to quip, “You could be forgiven if you thought Sonny and Cher was playing, but it’s not Groundhog Day!”

Would all this familiarity with Zimmermann’s arsenal mean a lot of contempt—a lot of hard-hit balls by Yankee batters? Tonight … well, it was a weird one for the Orioles’ starter.

Compared to his last five-run, five-inning outing against New York, Zimmermann was certainly better: he pitched into the seventh inning while allowing no walks, notching five strikeouts, and drawing two double play balls—the Orioles’ MLB-leading 55th and Zimmermann’s MLB-leading 11th. Over 6.1 innings, Zimmermann allowed just six hits.

The trouble was, four of those hits were home runs.

In the first inning, after a leadoff single was erased by a double play (prompting a happy leg kick from Zimmermann that gave me strong Chris Davis vibes), Baltimore’s homegrown lefty threw a high sinker that Anthony Rizzo walloped into the second deck in right field.

In the third, José Trevino took a hanging changeup 413 feet deep.

In the fourth, Gleyber Torres launched a high fastball into the leftfield stands.

In the seventh, Torres did it again, a most annoying return to his 2019 form after 142 at-bats without a home run against Baltimore.

Coming into tonight, Zimmermann had allowed a total of four home runs in eight starts. Tonight, he doubled that. Ouch.

And for four innings, it was an amped-up Yankee Stadium watching their team launch bombs while a confident Jordan Montgomery dominated a limp Orioles offense. Over six innings, the Orioles’ No. 1-4 hitters were a combined 0-for-11 against Montgomery, who showed good control and multiple speeds tonight.

But if you hung around, the face of the game changed dramatically.

Down in a 3-0 hole, the Orioles scratched a run back in the top of the fifth. Ryan Mountcastle singled and Montgomery tried, but failed, to squeeze Ramón Urías inside. El Wey (I don’t think this is a thing, but when I see Urías I think it) smoked a double down the third base line, putting Orioles on second and third. Rougned Odor hit a soft grounder to plate a run. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.

The Orioles made run-scoring look a little sexier in the seventh, when Austin Hays dumped Jordan Montgomery’s last pitch of the game, an 83-mph changeup, into the right-field stands. Delightful Twitter handle “Would It Dong” lets you see how many stadiums a ball would be a home run in. Let’s consult them:

A 354-foot home run? Only in Yankee Stadium’s ridiculous lefty-friendly short porch? Thanks, guys!

Adley followed up Hays’ bomb with his first hit of the game, a one-out single against the dangerous Michael King, and Urías walked. Rougned Odor came up to the plate again and hit a ball towards right. Hmm, let’s check in with our friends at Would It Dong again:

353 feet! A pipsqueak! And, in Yankee Stadium, still gone! The Orioles’ dugout exploded, and the home run chain quickly changed hands. “It is an absolute party in the Orioles’ dugout right now,” said Kevin Brown. Rougned Odor loves hitting against his old team, huh?

The lead was 5-3. But the lead was shortlived, because, you’ll recall, Zimmermann continued to serve up solo bombs into the seventh. Brandon Hyde chose to replace him with Logan Gillaspie, and it proved a bad decision. Gillaspie retired one, but hit a batter, gave up two hits, and left with the game tied at 5.

Keegan Akin had to ride to the rescue. And ride to the rescue he did, throwing straight filth to strike out Aaron Hicks and strand two in the seventh.

Akin came back out in the eighth and coolly whiffed Aaron Judge and Estevan Florial in a one-two-three inning.

He came back out in the ninth. Andújar was caught staring at a called third strike. Isiah Kiner-Falefa came up, stared at two quick strikes, and Akin blew him away. Things got a little dicey for Akin, with two uncharacteristic walks, but Akin must like facing Aaron Hicks, because he blew a fastball by him, too. 2.1 innings of relief, six strikeouts. What a monster appearance for Akin.

The Yankees brought in Wandy Peralta for the ninth, and though the Birds hit a bunch of 90-plus-mph balls, they came up empty.

Onto extra-innings: Clark Schmidt silenced the Orioles in the top of the tenth.

The Orioles countered with Dillon Tate. A noisy flyout from Aaron Judge was just short of the short porch, but enough to move the runner over to third. Estevan Florial grounded to short, and Jorge Mateo fired home.

How was Adley’s defense tonight, some of you might be wondering? It’s tricky because several of Zimm’s misses were over-the-plate-bad. But during his time catching Keegan Akin, Adley’s pitch-framing was on-point. And on the Mateo throw home in the tenth, Rutschman was perfectly placed to apply the tag and freeze Hicks at the plate.

Onto the eleventh. So much extra-innings baseball for the Orioles means plenty of Ryan McKenna, and I was glad to have him on the basepaths as the Orioles squeaked out a sixth run on a pair of groundouts by Santander Hays.

Only three outs stood between Baltimore and a series win. Brandon Hyde put the game in the capable hands of … Bryan Baker? Well, who else is left? Alas, it was not to be. A flyball moved the ghost runner over to third. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was late on four straight Baker fastballs, but Baker threw him a cutter, and Kiner-Falefa tied up the game with a single up the middle. Baker still couldn’t shut the door: two singles later, and the Yankees had plated the go-ahead seventh run.

I guess the Orioles can’t win all the walkoffs. That would just be greedy. They hand the keys to the series over to Tyler Wells tomorrow.