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Yankees 4, Orioles 5: Through the legs, over the wall

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A mistake by Walker ends up costing the Yanks big time in the doubleheader opener

MLB: Game One-New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
Giancarlo Stanton gave the Yanks the lead early, but the pitching couldn’t hold the lead
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball can be a frustrating sport at times, even for the best teams. Matchups where you expect to dominate can inexplicably prove to be tough, and give you trouble across a season series. This year’s Orioles have been one of those matchups for the Yankees, inexplicably going 3-3 against them entering today. All of those losses were from the beginning of the season, before the Yankees went on a massive roll, but their struggles resurfaced again in the first game of today’s doubleheader.

Things turned south for the Yankees in the sixth inning, with CC Sabathia holding onto a 4-2 lead. Sabathia didn’t have great stuff throughout his outing, grinding through most of the previous five innings, but his pitch count wasn’t terrible. Manager Aaron Boone decided to leave him out to start the sixth, and CC immediately got into trouble. He walked Mark Trumbo on six pitches, but got a sharp ground ball out from Jonathan Schoop towards the right side of the infield. Neil Walker misplayed the ball, letting it go right through his legs, and somehow Schoop picked up a double on the play.

Of course, when mistakes like that are made, they’re often capitalized on. Danny Valencia took advantage, ripping a 1-1 offering from CC to straightaway center field for a three-run home run and a 5-4 Baltimore lead.
CC was pulled following the long ball, and despite some trouble Jonathan Holder managed to get out of the inning without any further damage. The blown lead was enough, however, as the Yankees only managed to get one baserunner for the final three innings. Miguel Andujar got on and made it to third base in the ninth inning to make it interesting, but Zach Britton closed the door and capped off a rough game.

The Yankees had success prior to the blunder in the sixth, and got started with a blast. Giancarlo Stanton led off the second inning with a bomb to left center, helping his All-Star Game final vote race with his 22nd homer of the season and 52nd RBI. Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius delivered RBI singles in the third to push the lead to 3-0.

Outside of the sixth, CC’s night was decent enough to help the Yankees secure a win. He did have one major mistake, a fastball that caught too much of the plate that Trumbo deposited into the seats in left in the fourth, but otherwise grinded through five innings. He was far from perfect, but on an ordinary day his outing would have been acceptable. With Luis Cessa starting the second half of the doubleheader, the risk of sending him out for the sixth is understandable, but he probably required a much shorter leash.

The Yankees will look to regroup for said second game shortly, with Cessa going against Yefry Ramirez.

Box score.