After two days of driving rain and no baseball, the Yankees started off their hump day doubleheader in style, cruising to a 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The teams combined for a mini home run derby, hitting six combined dingers, but the Yankees hit four of them and picked up the win thanks to a solid effort from the bullpen aces.
The baseballs were flying around the yard in the early going. Trey Mancini took J.A. Happ deep just 12 pitches in, but Gary Sanchez struck back in a big way, crushing a 440-foot bomb on David Hess’s seventh pitch to tie the game. The ball landed over the bullpens in right field, not a spot where many home run balls are caught.
The O’s came right back in the second inning though. After Hanser Alberto singled, Austin Wynns doubled him home and Baltimore retook the 2-1 lead. Again, the lead didn’t last long, as Gleyber Torres tied the game with a solo shot to center field.
After working hard to tie the game, the Yankees struck again later in the inning to take their first lead of the game. Cameron Maybin came to the plate and cracked his first Yankees home run, a solo shot into the right field seats, to make it 3-2 Bombers.
As great as the teams’ offenses were early on, the pitchers were just as bad. Happ coughed the lead right back up in the fourth inning, surrendering a solo shot to Renato Nunez, tying the game for the third time. Yet again though, the Yankees offense bailed Happ out.
After being gifted a tie ballgame again, Hess couldn’t get out of his own way in the bottom of the fourth. Torres smacked his second homer of the day, giving the Yankees the lead back, and then Gio Urshela reached third on a three-base error by Mancini in right. The error proved costly, as Mike Tauchman singled Urshela home and gave the Yankees the 5-3 edge after four innings.
Things finally settled down after the fourth inning. In the end, Happ made it through 5.1 innings and didn’t allow any more runs after the fourth, while Hess lasted six innings. Neither pitcher had his A-game, but the early offensive action at least made up for the lack of baseball over the last two days.
Aaron Boone might have pulled Happ a little early, but given how hitters were squaring him up all day, the presence of a 10-man Yankees bullpen, and an off-day tomorrow, it was the right call. Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman combined to allow just two baserunners over 3.2 scoreless innings, preserving the 5-3 win.
The Yankees will try for the Wednesday afternoon sweep in game two in about 30 minutes. Domingo German will go for the Yankees, and the Orioles will go with Andrew Cashner.