David Cone said it best, “My head hurts after this game. I think I need a drink.”
We all do, Coney.
Well, that was… something? After a slow-game-turned-exciting-game-turned-confusing-game, the only certainty is that pigeons flying past the camera excite Michael Kay. Before the confusion and before the excitement, we had a boring day of baseball.
Following a weekend of grand slams, high scores, and Gatorade baths, Sunday’s game seemed to drag. Things appeared to be headed in a different direction early on as Wade Miley left a pitch up in the zone and Matt Holliday made him pay. He planted it into the visitor bullpen to make it 1-0 Yankees in the first. That was the extent of the fun for a while. Besides a Chase Headley RBI single in the third, the story of the day was wasted opportunities as the Yankees left 16 runners on base.
There were some upsides, though. Jordan Montgomery took the mound for the Yankees and put together another solid outing, striking out seven through five innings. After Adam Jones put the Orioles on the board in the 3rd with a bloop-single RBI, Montgomery was able to work out of the jam by striking out Mark Trumbo with the bases loaded. It was a big moment in the game but also a big confidence builder for the rookie.
After issuing two walks to kick off the sixth, he was taken out in favor of Jonathan Holder, who gave up two runs on a couple of singles, both charged to Montgomery. That didn’t put the Yankees away, however. Things got interesting again in the ninth.
Darren O’Day came in to pitch for the Orioles and quickly put runners on first and second. O’Day then balked on a throw over to second. That moved the runners to second and third. Headley then walked to load the bases. Donnie Hart came in to face Didi Gregorius, who doubled up the middle to score Starlin Castro and Aaron Judge. Sir Didi is back. Chris Carter then struck out swinging to send the game to the 10th.
The confusion began in exta-innings.. Bryan Mitchell, who pitched the ninth for the Yankees, came in to play first. Apparently it’s that easy. Joe Girardi was out of arms in the bullpen, so he replaced Chris Carter with Mitchell while Aroldis Chapman pitched the 10th. This would allow Mitchell to come back into the game in a later inning, should he be needed. Mitchell looked a little shaky as he badly missed a pop up in foul territory, but redeemed himself on another opportunity two batters later.
With two men on in the bottom of the 10th, Greg Bird was brought in to pinch hit for Holliday. But, it wasn’t really for Holliday. When Chapman came in to pitch and Mitchell moved to first, the Yankees gave up the designated hitter spot. So, Bird was actually pinch hitting for Chapman. Got it? No? Me neither. Bird took a pitch off the elbow pad to load the bases, but a Castro dribbler and a Judge strikeout ended the inning.
Mitchell came back in to pitch the 11th after almost an hour break and things didn’t go so well. A handful of hits, walks, steals, and Chase Headley bobbles put three runs on the board for Baltimore. The Bombers weren’t able to counter and that ended the most confusing game ever.
They made it exciting for a bit, but the Yankees couldn’t complete another comeback to sweep the O’s. They still took the series and leave the weekend tied for first, which is a pretty good result.
We’re back in the Bronx tomorrow as the Yankees open up a three game set against the struggling Blue Jays. The game is scheduled for 7:05 EST. Look at it this way, things probably can’t get any more confusing.