After the action-packed explosive scoring that broke out yesterday, the Yankees settled for a pitcher’s duel on Saturday. Jordan Montgomery and Dean Kremer went back and forth for nearly six innings before handing things over to the bullpens, each side having allowed just one run. It would take extra innings for another run to break the tie, but the Yankees eventually found their way to a 2-1 victory, their fourth straight win.
The Yankees had seen Kremer just a week ago, in the 24-year-old’s MLB debut, and the righty held them in check for six innings. Kremer was nearly as good today, allowing a few more hits and going only five innings in this outing, but still holding the Bombers to a single run. It came in the first inning, when DJ LeMahieu led off with a double and advanced to third on a line out to right. Clint Frazier lifted a ball out to right, deep enough for LeMahieu to come home and give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Montgomery, however, had a turnaround performance from his recent rut. The left-hander had gone a combined four innings in his last two starts, but delivered 5.2 innings of work on the afternoon. Montgomery struck out a career-high nine batters, while allowing only three hits and a walk. The lone run for the Orioles would come in the sixth, and it was an unearned one. Hanser Alberto led off with a single that was misplayed by Brett Gardner, which allowed Alberto to advance to second. A sac-fly and a single later, and the score was knotted at one.
The Yankees had several opportunities to score another run before extras, but they couldn’t string together much offense. Frazier and Gardner each had a two-out triple, in the third and eighth innings, respectively, but neither came around to score. Gary Sanchez also had a one-out double, but he was stranded by Thairo Estrada and Mike Tauchman. If the offense couldn’t get a series of hits together, they’d need to be able to score with a runner gifted to them instead.
The 10th began with the Orioles wasting their chance to score. Andrew Velasquez entered as a pinch-runner for the free baserunner on second base, and advanced to third on a groundout. From there, Jonathan Holder froze him, first getting a line drive out to second and then a soft fly ball to left. The Yankees had their opportunity, and they didn’t take long to capitalize.
LeMahieu was the runner on second to start, and he advanced to third for free after the new Orioles pitcher, Hunter Harvey, fired a wild pitch. Luke Voit now had a runner 90 feet away from home plate, and he drove LeMahieu home by lifting a ball out to center field. Cedric Mullins managed to track the ball down, but he was playing too far in to slow down his momentum and get a throw off. LeMahieu scored uncontested on the sacrifice, and the Yankees walked off winners.
New York now has the opportunity to sweep Baltimore in a four-game series that looked scary heading into it considering the recent directions both teams have been trending towards. The Yankees are once again comfortably in the playoffs, and they can set themselves up for a chance to fire back into the conversation for the top four seeds if they can finish off the Orioles before a rematch with Toronto. J.A. Happ will be the starter for the series finale tomorrow, and he’ll go up against John Means.