The days of the B-Team Bombers were supposed to be long over, but the Yankees’ “next men up” did most of the grunt work in a gritty 9-4 win over the Orioles. It was the Yankees’ ninth win at Camden Yards this year.
The Yankees lit up the scoreboard in the top of the third inning. Mike Tauchman, who came into the day hitting .443 with an .820 SLG since July 5, smoked a solo shot to kick off the scoring. Then, his former Rockies teammate DJ LeMahieu cracked a high drive over the center-field fence just three pitches later, doubling the lead. Finally, Didi Gregorius demolished a baseball that landed on Eutaw Street to make it 3-0 on three solo home runs. With Asher Wojciechowski on the mound, you could say it was an inning of Woj Bombs.
Jonathan Holder has had a difficult season, but he pitched pretty well as the opener on Tuesday night. Holder started with two scoreless innings, but ran into some trouble in the third, allowing two runs. For a guy who hadn’t completed three whole innings since July 2017, it may have been a bit ambitious to expect him to pitch the third.
The Yankees got their cushion right back in the next inning, when Cameron Maybin led off with a single and Mike Ford followed with a double that boinked off of D.J. Stewart’s head. That put two men in scoring position for Austin Romine, who drove them both home with a two-run double to make it 5-2, Bombers.
The Orioles almost struck back in the bottom of the fourth, when Pedro Severino launched what looked to be a long home run off the bat. Instead, Tauchman leaped high above the wall to rob Severino of a leadoff dinger, keeping the score 5-2. We’ve talked a lot about Tauchman’s bat lately, but his fielding is elite too, and he reminded everyone with a play that could be the home run theft of the year:
Like he did with Holder, Aaron Boone left Stephen Tarpley out for his third inning of work in the fifth frame and, again, he hit a wall. Trey Mancini nearly jumped the yard on a long two-out double, and then Anthony Santander sent one deep into the left field seats on the next pitch, cutting the deficit to one run. Neither Holder nor Tarpley are stretched out to throw three innings, and a little bit too much trust from Boone almost cost the Yankees their lead.
Former Oriole Nestor Cortes Jr. came in to clean up Tarpley’s mess after he allowed four straight hits, and he got out of the jam with the lead intact. And then, just like he did two innings earlier, Romine got the lead back up in the next inning. The catcher swatted a 1-0 fastball deep over the center field wall, his third RBI of the night and fourth home run in his last six games, to give the Bombers the 6-4 edge.
The Yankees needed some insurance in the eighth inning, and who better to turn to than Romine and Tauchman? Romine led off the frame with a booming double, his third hit of the day, and Tauchman sent him home with his own RBI double. The Yankees added even more insurance in the ninth when Brett Gardner and Maybin hit back-to-back dingers, the Yankees’ second pair of back-to-back shots of the night, and stretched the lead to 9-4.
In a way, the bullpen game for the Yankees was split into two categories: the seven-inning “start” by Holder, Tarpley and Cortes, who combined to allow four runs over seven unspectacular but effective innings, and the two innings of late-game relief from Adam Ottavino that closed out the 9-4 victory. All said, the formula worked in a relatively stress-free win.
The Yankees will look to make it the whole season without losing at Camden Yards tomorrow. James Paxton will go for the Yankees against John Means for the Orioles.