In a season full of some very annoying and upsetting losses, this one is somehow right up there. The Yankees somehow allowed the dismal Orioles to beat them in a series at Yankee Stadium. If they hadn’t found a way to walk off the Friday night opener, they very easily could’ve been swept.
Corey Kluber was making his second start since returning from the IL, and wasn’t great, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks in 3.2 innings. However, it seemed like the Yankees were going to get past that, thanks in large part to Gary Sánchez. He hit two home runs, for a total of six RBI, leading the way in a fairly solid game from the offense.
Unfortunately, a well-used bullpen kept the Orioles in it before a disastrous seventh inning. Andrew Heaney was brought in for that one, and before you knew it, a three-run lead was a one-run deficit. That proved to be the killer blow, as the Yankees took a bad 8-7 loss to the Orioles, costing them them the three-game set.
Early on, Kluber worked into and out of trouble in the first, but Baltimore went on to strike in the second. Austin Hays led off the second with a home run, giving the Orioles an early lead. The Yankees struck back quickly in a big way right after that, however.
With one out in the bottom of the second, Luke Voit drew a walk and Gleyber Torres singled. Rougned Odor was then hit by a pitch, and despite it looking especially painful, he remained in the game. That brought Sánchez to the plate. The Yankees’ catcher crushed a pitch 430 feet into the second deck in left field for a grand slam:
Gary Slamchez. pic.twitter.com/SDZz57cCjO— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 5, 2021
The Orioles cut into that deficit somewhat in the fourth inning. With one out in the frame, Ramón Urías and Pedro Severino singled and doubled respectively, putting two runners in scoring position. A sac fly then scored Urías, but a nice throw by Joey Gallo made it somewhat close. After Kluber put another runner on with a hit by pitch, that would be the end of his day. It was a bit better than his first start since coming off the IL, but he definitely wasn’t very sharp. Joely Rodríguez came in for him and cleaned up and finished the fourth.
Rodríguez remained in for the fifth, but he too ran into some trouble and was replaced by Albert Abreu. Manager Aaron Boone was also ejected during that pitching change, after having argued balls and strikes. Abreu came in and got through the fifth without the Orioles adding to their score. Anthony Rizzo made a particularly nice play to end the inning.
Rizzo then got in on the action as the Yankees picked up a run in the bottom of the fifth. DJ LeMahieu and Gallo walked to lead off the inning, but the Orioles’ Conner Greene responded with two outs getting on the verge of escaping the inning. Rizzo stepped to the plate and blooped a single into no man’s land, scoring LeMahieu to extend the lead.
In the very next inning with two outs, Torres cleanly fielded a grounder to short. However, he took an extra beat before getting the throw off, allowing the runner to beat it out and reach on an infield single. Cedric Mullins then immediately homered, cutting the Yankees’ lead down to one run.
Torres somewhat made up for his miscue when he then singled in the sixth. That allowed him to be on base as Sánchez went deep again. It was only two runs and didn’t reach the second deck, but other than that, it was almost a replay of his first home run, giving the Yankees some extra cushion.
Gary Hours 2. pic.twitter.com/lfXXKgGicx— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 5, 2021
It was an extra cushion that very quickly disappeared when Heaney came in for the seventh. He quickly loaded the bases and then allowed a two-run double to Jahmai Jones without recording an out. He finally did get one, but then allowed a game-tying single before finally getting the hook. Wandy Peralta came in for a difficult spot, pitching for the third-straight day. He eventually got out of it, but not before Kelvin Gutiérrez singled to put the Orioles in front, 8-7.
Nothing really happened after that for either team, as the Yankees lost the game and barely mustered any baserunners the rest of the way. How a team went from a 13-game winning streak to dropping a home series to the Orioles in barely a week is something we may never understand. The lone positive from the day outside of Sánchez is that the Red Sox lost, so the Yankees are still in the first Wild Card spot (albeit by only half a game).
The pitching staff has no time to rest, either. Tomorrow, the Yankees welcome the Blue Jays to the Bronx for a four-game set. That offense is clicking on cylinders, having swept their Wild Card rival A’s in Toronto by scoring 29 runs in 3 games. The Yankees will need Jameson Taillon to make a quick turnaround from his August slump. First pitch is at 1:05pm ET.