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Bullpen blows it, but Yankees claw back to beat Orioles 6-5

The sweep is complete.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Initially this game did start out as a pitchers’ duel, as it was 1-1 until the bottom of the fifth inning. For Dylan Bundy the third time through the order was his downfall. Bundy pitched 5.2 innings allowing 3 runs, with five hits, one home run, and five strikeouts.

Tanaka pitched well aside from the second inning. Designated hitter Renato Nunez began the bottom half with a single to Brett Gardner. Rio Ruiz followed Nunez, hitting a ball that ended up getting Tanaka on the chest. He tried to make a play at first, but he threw it away for an error. Runners were on second and third no outs. Chris Davis was the next man up and worked a walk with the count full.

Tanaka was able to keep the Yankees in the game, though. An infield pop got him the first out, and a force out at second got him the second while the first run came in for Baltimore. Another grounder to LeMahieu with a put out at first base ended the threat with the Orioles up 1-0.

It was worrisome to see Tanaka hit by the ball for his second consecutive start, but his performance was encouraging. His shin appears to be okay and the ball to the chest today had little effect. He exited the game having pitched six innings with five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts.

The Yankee offense was without Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez in the starting lineup today, and they weren’t able to get anything going at the plate until the fifth inning. Clint Frazier hit a home run to tie the game. The exit velocity was 99.3 mph and it traveled 376 feet over the right field wall.

They were back to work in the sixth inning. DJ LeMahieu started things off with a walk. With two outs, Luke Voit hit a double to put runners on third and second, and Kendrys Morales walked. That put Gio Urshela up with the bases loaded, and he did what Gio Urshela does: Hit a clutch single with two strikes, to put the Yankees ahead 3-1. They added another run in the seventh when Thairo Estrada crossed the plate on an Austin Romine single. In the eighth, Luke Voit hit a 407-foot home run with an exit velocity of 102 mph.

Those insurance runs proved to be important. After working a great seventh inning, Jonathan Holder began the bottom of the eighth with two lead off walks. Trey Mancini came up to bat and knocked Holder out of the game with an RBI single to make it 5-2. Tommy Kahnle came in and quickly got a fly out for the first out of the inning. He wasn’t able to get the job done against Nunez , who hit a three-run home run to tie the game at 5-5.

The Yankees had no choice but to bring out the two players the Orioles do not want to see for the rest of the year. With Mychal Givens pitching and two outs in the ninth, the Yankees brought in pinch hitter Gleyber Torres. A mound visit did prevent a Torres home run but he still reached with a base on balls. Next, Gary Sanchez knocked a pinch-hit single to right with the outfielders on no-doubles defense. LeMahieu walked to load the bases. Finally, Hicks eventually earned a walk to give the Yankees their second lead, 6-5.

Zack Britton, who is used to closing in Camden Yards, collected the save and the Yankees secured the four-game sweep of Baltimore. This series sweep comes at a perfect time as the Yankees recently took first place from the Tampa Bay Rays and would like to pull further away from them and the Red Sox. They’ll head to Kansas City tonight looking for the same result in the next series.