After two-hour rain delay, the Yankees managed to squeeze a ballgame in. The wai wasn’t worth it, though, as the Bombers dropped this one in excruciating fashion. A late night combined with a walk-off loss? Yuck. Losing 7 - 6 against the Orioles is no way to spend a night.
The Yankees actually had Jeremy Hellickson on the ropes during the first two innings. They came close, but just couldn’t capitalize. Thankfully the knockout punch came in the third, when an errant Hellickson loaded the bases. Romine led off the inning with a single, before Aaron Judge worked a one-out walk. The right-hander hit Starlin Castro with a pitch, which looked awfully painful, before Didi Gregorius picked up a two-RBI single. After issuing a walk to Matt Holliday, Buck Showalter mercifully lifted him.
Old friend Richard Bleier came on in relief, and hilarity then ensued. With the bases loaded, Greg Bird lifted a fly ball to center field. What should have been a routine out instead turned into a RBI-E8 as Adam Jones couldn’t catch the ball. A Todd Frazier groundout and a Jacoby Ellsbury single made it 6 - 1, Yankees. The team batted around in the third inning, and it was glorious. That’s all the offense could muster, though, as the rest of the game became an unsuccessful exercise in hanging on for dear life.
The late start did CC Sabathia and the Yankees no favors. The big left-hander labored, needing 26 pitches to escape the first inning. That’s not to say he didn’t pitch well. He just couldn’t catch a break. The Orioles manufactured their two-out run on a walk, a wild pitch, and a pair of infield singles. Nothing was particularly well struck by the O’s, but the run came across.
For Sabathia, the first inning was death by soft contact. The rest of the game, however, would be another story. When the left-hander missed, he got crushed. That would put the Yankees’ lead in peril. Manny Machado began to chip away at the score in the bottom of the third, hitting a solo home run. Sabathia left a changeup out over the plate, one that didn’t do anything.
Machado has been scorching hot in the second half. Make a mistake to him, and you will pay. Thankfully the damage limited itself to a solo shot. Jonathan Schoop launched another solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. He took a belt-high sinker and deposited it into the left field seats. That cut the Yankees’ lead to three.
Things got dicier in the bottom of the sixth, when Mark Trumbo crushed a two-run dinger to left field. His home run made it a one-run game. It also ended Sabathia’s night. All told, the southpaw went 5.1 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. That includes three home runs. Not a great night for Sabathia, but he’s earned a mulligan after the work he did all season.
For their part, the Yankees’ relief corps seemed solid, and they nearly secured the win. Tommy Kahnle battled with control, an issue that has plagued him since the trade. He managed to bail Sabathia out without further damage though. David Robertson gave up some loud outs, but worked a scoreless seventh. Even Aroldis Chapman got in on the fun. He tossed a perfect eighth, and looked pretty good in the process.
Then Dellin Betances came in. The Yankees closer leaned on his curveball - 16 of his 20 pitches were the hook - and it burned him. After walking Tim Beckham with two outs, Machado stepped to the plate. It felt inevitable at this point, as a hanging curveball went to left-center field, winning the game for the O’s.
So, with that in mind, I leave you with this question...
Tomorrow’s game, weather permitting, is scheduled for 7:05 PM. It will be Sonny Gray against Kevin Gausman.