Usually, 10 runs are enough to ensure a victory. When a club scores 10 runs against the worst team in baseball should feel like a cruise for nine innings. This was decidedly not a cruise.
The Yankees took game one of the final home series of the regular season by a score of 10-8 over the Baltimore Orioles, who continue to be annoying even in defeat. Despite the close score, there was plenty of positives from the game.
First and foremost was CC Sabathia’s performance. The veteran left-hander looked much more like the first-half version of himself, tossing six innings of two-run ball en route to his eighth victory of the year. Sabathia only ran into trouble in once, loading the bases in the fifth inning. Adam Jones lined a single to left to bring home two, but CC shut the door from there.
Having a productive CC would be crucial to the Yankees. Getting the offense rolling heading into October couldn’t hurt either, and they steamrolled through the Oriole’s pitching tonight. Didi Gregorius got things started in the first inning with a two-run home run deep into the seats in right, scoring Aaron Hicks.
The Yankees pounced again in the fourth inning. Neil Walker got things going with a one-out double, and came home on a single from Gleyber Torres. Torres would steal third base, and then come home on a grounder from Austin Romine to make it 4-0. Following a Brett Gardner walk, Hicks would launch a two-run shot of his own to quickly make it 6-0.
Things started going south in the seventh inning, with Sabathia’s night done. Jonathan Loaisiga replaced him, and promptly gave up a solo home run to Austin Wynns. Loaisiga would allow another baserunner on before being relieved by Zach Britton, who allowed the inherited runner to come home. Suddenly a 6-0 blowout was a 6-4 contest.
Fortunately the offense never took their foot off the pedal. Hicks and Judge got on base in front of Andrew McCutchen, who singled to center to bring home Hicks. Didi grounded into a fielder’s choice that became a rundown at home, forcing out Judge but giving the Yankees runners at third and second. Luke Voit capitalized, driving both runners home on a single to left, and the lead ballooned to 9-4.
Unfortunately, the lead deflated in the next inning. Stephen Tarpley took over for Britton, and picked up a strikeout before being relieved by A.J. Cole. Cole walked a batter and served up a two-run home run to Renato Nunez to cut the lead to three. David Robertson took his turn in the musical mound game, and surrendered a two-run homer of his own to DJ Stewart, and suddenly the Yankees were only winning by one.
Judge drove a much needed insurance run home in the bottom of the eighth to hand a 10-8 lead over to Dellin Betances for the ninth. Dellin had the best luck of the relievers tonight, pitching a scoreless inning and picking up his fourth save of the season. All things considered, the Yankees did what they needed to, but the bullpen will naturally draw concern going forward.