The 2022 Orioles DO NOT SAY DIE! Not against the best team in baseball, not against anyone. Facing the Yankees ace, down early, the Orioles fought back to down the Evil Empire 6-3 Saturday night in Baltimore.
The seventh proved to be the deciding blow in a comeback that unfolded over several innings. Leading off down one run, Ramon Urias worked the count against Gerrit Cole, before dropping a double just beyond left fielder Aaron Hicks’ reach. After first looking to bunt to move Urias over, Jorge Mateo instead drove him by dumping a single into center field, tying the game.
That was the final blow for Cole, as he cede the tied game to the Yankees bullpen. Mateo’s speed immediately caused problems for reliever Albert Abreu, as a failed pickoff attempt saw the shortstop race from first to third. That set up an epic showdown between Mateo’s speed and Aaron Judge’s arm, as Mullins launched a fly ball into center. Ultimately, the advantage went to the speedster, as he easily beat Judge’s throw to score on the sac fly and give the Os a 4-3 advantage.
After starting the rally in the seventh, Urias would come back to deliver the knockout blow in the 8th. After Rougned Odor worked a walk, Urias blasted a Shane Greene sinker so deep to left field that not even The Wall could attempt to contain it. Easily the offense’s standout star, Urias finished 3-4, a triple shy of the cycle, with the two RBIs and two runs scored.
Though overshadowed by the clutch hitting, the bullpen was their usual dominant selves in closing out the game. Felix Bautista proved an insurmountable Mountain for the Yanks in the eighth, overpowering the normally powerful Bronx Bombers with multiple 100+ MPH fastballs and devastating splitters.
In the ninth, Jorge Lopez came in for his first appearance since his three-pitch outing at the All-Star Game. After a Ryan Mountcastle error and Judge single left Lopez facing a two-on, no-out situation, Lopez dialed in. He responded by getting Anthony Rizzo to ground out to first and forcing Gleyber Torres to fly out to right, setting up a final showdown with Josh Donaldson. After getting the count to 0-2, Lopez froze the former MVP with a 100 MPH sinker at the top of the strike zone, closing out the win.
The improbable nature of the comeback made this one all the sweeter for Birdland. Through four innings, this felt like a game where the Yankees would catch all the breaks and the Orioles would catch none. Rougned Odor hit a ball 109 MPH into right field in the second, and it just so happened to be right at Matt Carpenter’s glove. Cedric Mullins shot a ball to the left side in the third, exit velocity of 106, only for it to end up right in the shift. Not to mention the ever-changing strike zone from home plate umpire Ben May. That all changed in the fifth.
With two outs, and Gerrit Cole looking to cruise through his fifth shutout inning, Jorge Mateo lined a single into center to start the rally. That quickly turned into a Rickey Henderson double, as Mateo swiped second. Mullins then drove in his partner in speed with a single, before executing his own steal of second. Adley Rutschman, continuing to enjoy his new role as the #2 hitter, then split the right-center gap for an RBI double. Trey Mancini failed to bring Adley home, but the Os showed in that inning they would not lay down easily. The Yankees would have to fight for this win, and they proved not to be up for the fight.
Starter Jordan Lyles did enough to keep the Orioles in the game early. The stat line of 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 Ks and 2 BB doesn’t paint a picture of peak effectiveness from Lyles. In reality, the veteran right-hander offered a slightly better effort than the stats suggested. Yes, he got hit around a little bit. He was let down early by his defense, as Urias failed to corral a hard ground ball from Aaron Judge in the first, ultimately ending up as an RBI double. He was the victim of bad luck: the Yankees’ third run came off a blooped single from Judge that had an xBA of .060. He even gave up his first Camden Yards HR, falling victim to the dark voodoo powers of the resurrected Matt Carpenter. Ultimately, Lyles did enough to keep the Orioles in a position to mount their comeback.
This is the second time in as many starts that the Orioles got the better of Cole. After roughing him up for five runs over eight innings in May in the Bronx, the Os won another war of attrition Saturday night. Last year’s Cy Young runner-up finished the evening with a final line of six innings, nine hits, four runs allowed, two walks and six strikeouts.
In many ways, this felt like the biggest win of the season—and perhaps the biggest win Baltimore has been audience to in a long time. In his post-game interview, Urias mentioned how the atmosphere in Camden Yards was playoff-like. The announced attendance of just over 36,000 was the second-biggest home crowd of the season. At the end of the day, the chants of “Let’s Go O’s” drowned out the usual din from the traveling fans—and it’s felt like a long time since Birdland could shut them up.
Sunday, the Orioles will play for a chance to win this weekend’s series, move to 5-5 at home against New York and split the season series at Camden Yards. The last time the Orioles had a .500 or better home record against the Yankees was when they went 6-3 in Camden Yards during the 2016 season. Coincidentally, that was the Orioles’ last playoff appearance. While playoffs still seem like a longshot this year, the fact that the Os can go toe-to-toe with this Yankees team shows just how far they’ve come over the last four months. These Os will only keep building from this. And they will Never. Say. Die.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for July 23, 2022
This poll is closed
Ramon Urias (3-4, two-run HR in the 8th)
Felix Bautista (perfect 8th inning, 2 Ks)
Jorge Lopez (Save, 1 K, worked out of 9th inning jam)
Cedric Mullins (2-3, 2 RBIs, drove in winning run)