It was the beginning of a crucial series at Camden Yards as the Yankees took on the first place Baltimore Orioles. The resurgent Chris Capuano looked to not get pummeled by the frightening O's offense. He would be opposed by Bud Norris. The pummeling was not to be avoided on this night.
Things started quickly for both offenses. Brett Gardner led off the game by driving a triple into center field. He scored on a Derek Jeter groundout. The O's countered in the bottom of the first thanks to a Manny Machado double and a wild pitch on a strikeout of Adam Jones that allowed Machado to advance and Jones to take first. With only one out instead of two, Machado was able to score on a Nelson Cruz flyout. Game evened up at 1-1.
The Yankees scored again in the second due to the Orioles attempting to make a blooper reel in the middle of the game. It started with a Carlos Beltran walk and a Chase Headley single that pushed him to third. After a Stephen Drew strikeout, Headley attempted to steal second and got caught in a rundown. Beltran tried to take this opportunity to head home but got caught in a rundown of his own. But when Machado tried to sling it home to nab Beltran the ball smacked Beltran in the back of the helmet and bounced away. Norris picked up the errant throw and just sort of rolled it back towards Caleb Joseph. Headley saw this and dashed towards the plate and scored a second run. It was 3-1 Yankees thanks to Baltimore's charitable ways. Most importantly, Beltran was credited with a steal of home. I don't think anyone predicted that occurring tonight.
In the bottom of the third the Orioles inched closer with a Jonathan Schoop leadoff single which became a run on An Adam Jones single. The score held at 3-2 until the fifth when with a runner on Chris Davis crushed a full count pitch from Capuano over the right field wall to make it 4-3 in favor of the Orioles. Capuano would make it through six before yielding to Adam Warren. That's when the wheels really fell off. A Nick Markakis double was followed by a double from Jones to make it 5-3 Orioles. Cruz came up next and hit one that may have landed on Mars to make the score 7-3 and pretty much put the game to rest. Warren has been a real liability over the last month and a demotion to the back of the 'pen might be in order. Things got even better when Chase Whitley made an appearance, allowing four runs in the eighth highlighted by a Schoop line drive home run. Enjoy some salt in that wound, everybody!
Capuano has been on a nice run but expecting a performance much better than four runs over six innings against that offense in that ballpark is a little rough. And while Warren and Whitley deserve plenty of blame for stinking out loud, it was another crummy performance by the offense that should take center stage. Even after being gifted two runs they couldn't muster a good showing tonight. Time to use those blunt wooden objects you carry around for their intended purpose, guys.
The teams will tango again tomorrow at 7 PM. Shane Greene and Wei-Yin Chen are your probables.