The Yankees avoided disaster tonight, recovering after blowing a big lead over the Orioles to hold on for a 9-6 victory. Everything looked good for the Yankees early on, but eventually the Orioles would put up a fight, knocking Masahiro Tanaka for ten hits, eight of them for extra bases, and five runs in 5.1 innings. Even after a shaky Tanaka start, though, the Yankees’ band of replacements found a way to win.
There wasn’t too much offense early in this one, but in the top of the second Austin Romine put the first run on the board with style, hitting a line drive that just cleared the wall for a home run. The Orioles would counter in the bottom of the third, starting with a triple by Jonathan Villar. The next hitter up, Trey Mancini, would single to tie things up. Tanaka allowed his third hit in a row, this time a double to Anthony Santander, but fortunately the Yankees’ defense bailed him out. As Mancini attempted to score from first base on the double, Gardner threw a strike to Didi Gregorius, and Gregorius fired a laser to Romine, catching Mancini at the plate on a bang-bang play.
At the start of the fifth inning the scoring picked up. Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman started things off with back-to-back singles, and a triple by Breyvic Valera would bring in both runners making it 3-1. With the infield in, DJ LeMahieu hit the ball to Villar but a high throw would allow Valera to score.
Gardner and Tauchman weren’t done scoring for the Yankees as they scored themselves on back-to-back home runs giving the Yankees a 6-1 lead in the sixth. What was even more impressive was that both home runs were taken to the opposite field.
After the Yankees got their offense going the Orioles decided they would too. Clean-up hitter Renato Nunez would start the bottom of the sixth with a double to right field, and former Yankees Jace Peterson would hit his first home run of the season as they shortened the Yankees’ lead by two. The hits wouldn’t stop against Tanaka as Hanser Alberto would single followed by a Chance Sisco double. Tanaka faced his last hitter in Chris Davis, who was able to make it 6-4 after hitting a sacrifice fly to center field.
The July reliever of the month Tommy Kahnle would enter the game looking terrific, throwing a total of four change ups to get the second out of the inning against a swinging Stevie Wilkerson. Unfortunately, Kahnle might have went to the well too often, as on his sixth changeup in a row to Villar, Kahnle would yield a 2-run home run tie the game 6-6.
Things wouldn’t stay knotted for long as the Yankees once again untied the game in the top of the eighth. Left-handed hitting Yankees were the story here. Mike Ford hit his second home run of the year over the right field wall, and then once again Gardner and Tauchman joined the party. An opposite field single by Gardner would set up Tauchman for a 2-run opposite field home run, making it 9-6. While the offense was busy taking a three-run lead Adam Ottavino and Zack Britton threw two scoreless innings ,bringing it to the ninth.
Things got interesting once again with Aroldis Chapman on the mound. Villar got on base with a single, completing the cycle. After striking out the second hitter of the inning things started to look good, but Santandar reached base on what was ruled a fielder’s choice by Gregorius. But with the tying run at the plate and with Renato Nunez batting, Chapman recorded one final strikeout to close out the game. The Yankees have now won six in a row, and have opened up a nine-game chasm in the AL East.