After yesterday’s offensive struggles, the Yankees seemed to be picking up where they left off in game two against the Orioles on Saturday night. Their first three innings featured at least one runner getting into scoring position. However, they couldn’t push any of them across home plate, going 0-for-6 with RISP in the first couple innings.
Those missed chances then became especially frustrating when the Orioles took the lead against a previously cruising Jameson Taillon. The offense was sputtering and, considering what happened last year, it was hard not to be a little frustrated.
Then in the middle of the top of the fifth, rain started to pick up. The game had already started late due to the weather, but things got bad enough for the game to go into a second delay. Well, whatever happened during it, the Yankees got their heads back on and came out swinging.
Over the fifth and sixth innings, the Yankees put up five runs, with seven of the nine hitters in the lineup reaching base at least once in that period. In those two innings, they looked like a team with some very capable hitters in the lineup and that, plus an overall good night from the pitching, took them to a 5-2 win over the Orioles.
Taillon went through the first two innings easy, but finally ran into some resistance in the bottom of the third. Austin Hays led off the inning with a single, and then would move over to third on a sac bunt and a ground out. Cedric Mullins then came to the plate. After getting ahead 3-0 in the count, Mullins swung away and hit a long, two-run home run to give Baltimore the lead.
As mentioned, in the fifth, it began to rain again (even with some hail this time), causing a delay right after Aaron Hicks had worked a walk. After a 49-minute delay, the game finally resumed.
In the first at-bat after it, Aaron Judge worked the count to draw a walk after he had fallen behind 0-2. Anthony Rizzo then delivered what felt like the Yankees’ first RISP hit in years with a single to score Hicks. Giancarlo Stanton was up next and he hit a ball into the gap that easily plated Judge with Rizzo getting waved all the way around. He was ruled safe on a play at the plate, but on review, it was overturned, and was out.
While that extra run would’ve been nice, the Yankees added a couple more anyway. Josh Donaldson followed that with his first home run as a Yankee, crushing a ball to give them the lead.
In some ways, it was the first time all season where it felt like the potentially powerful Yankees’ lineup truly clicked.
In the bottom of the inning, Taillon exited after retiring two batters but allowing another two to reach base. The second was a four-pitch, two-out walk to the No. 9 hitter with Mullins on deck, which was not ideal. JP Sears came in for him, and after issuing a walk to Mullins, got of the inning on a loud fly out. Taillon’s final line was two runs allowed on three hits and a walk in 4.2 innings.
The bottom of the lineup then helped the Yankees add another run in the sixth. With one out, Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled. Jose Trevino came up next and continued his hot hitting from Thursday night with a double, his second hit of the day. After a fielder’s choice got out Kiner-Falefa at home, Judge reached on a catcher’s interference. It was also another bit of fortune that eventually plated the run, as a wild pitch in the next at-bat scored Trevino from third.
Sears started the sixth and recorded two outs, but eventually exited the game with two runners on. Michael King came in for him and after walking one, escaped a bases loaded jam for the second time in a couple days. With the Yankees’ bullpen in a bit of a pinch after the lack of off days and pitcher usage in general, King was called on for not only the seventh but beyond that. After a clear seventh, he allowed a couple hits in the eighth and handed things over to Clay Holmes with two outs in the inning. Despite leaving a couple on base, it was a very good and important effort from King.
Holmes quickly got a grounder to escape the jam. He came back out for the ninth and finished things off with a drama-free 1-2-3 inning, recording the first save of his five-year career.
Five runs against the Orioles is hardly some sort of dominant effort by the offense, but it was proof of concept of what can happen when the Yankees’ lineup strings together quality plate appearances. They’ll try to match the post-rain delay effort tomorrow afternoon in the series finale against Baltimore, when Nestor Cortes faces Bruce Zimmermann. First pitch is at 1:05pm ET.