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Yankees 6, Orioles 7: Bullpen can’t hold late lead in Baltimore

After battling back to take the lead, the Yankees couldn’t quite hang onto a win in their first road game of the season.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

While there was still a lot of baseball left to be played, it seems like the Yankees’ sixth-inning rally to take the lead seemed like a potentially decisive one. Sure, the Orioles are not the 100-loss team anymore, but the Yankees didn’t play yesterday and had the bullpen rested. Even if you’re not a big momentum person, they seemed in decent shape to come away with a win.

That did not quite happen. Thanks to a bunch of poor bullpen performances, and arguably some poor bullpen choices, the Orioles ended up snatching the lead right back. While the Yankees threatened to fight back again, in they end they came up short in a 7-6 loss.

After the Yankees missed out on some chances in the first two innings, that came back to haunt them a bit in the bottom of the second. With one out in the inning, highly-rated youngster Gunnar Henderson reached with a single. After Clarke Schmidt walked Ramón Urías, Adam Frazier squeaked through a single to get Baltimore on the board. While there was a threat, Schmidt appeared to get out of it when Austin Hays his a groundball to Gleyber Torres for a possible inning-ending double play. However, Torres couldn’t cleanly field the ball, allowing everyone to be safe and another run to cross.

Things then got worse an inning later. With Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander on second and third after a walk and a double, Ryan Mountcastle hit a fly out that was deep enough for Rutschman to tag up and score. Henderson then followed that with his second hit of the day, a double that plated another run.

The Yankees finally got on the board and cut a big chunk off that deficit in the fourth. While Orioles starter Dean Kremer got two quick outs to start the inning, Oswaldo Cabrera kept the inning alive with a single. After working the count full, Jose Trevino then drew a walk to being Franchy Cordero to the plate. While Cordero’s career numbers aren’t the most impressive, he does have a bit of pop, and he showed that off in this at-bat. He homered to right-center, getting the Yankees back with in a run.

Schmidt would come back out for the bottom of the fourth, and allow a single before getting a fly out to end his day. Ian Hamilton replaced him and got two quicks out to end the inning. Schmidt finished his day with a final line of four runs allowed on five hits and three walks, striking out three. There aren’t a lot of options for now, but it wasn’t a great case for him to stick around once the rotation gets healthier. Hamilton would follow that up with a decently impressive scoreless fifth inning, but he did get some help with a diving catch from Aaron Judge.

Leading off the top of the sixth, Giancarlo Stanton worked a walk, which knocked Kremer out of the game as the O’s went to the bullpen. They brought in Logan Gillaspie, who threw a wild pitch before eventually walking Torres. Cabrera was then due up, and he came up big, sending a double into that gap that scored both runners and put the Yankees in front.

Hamilton came back out for another inning and recorded a strikeout before allowing a single to Jorge Mateo. Despite that, it was a fairly impressive outing from Hamilton, as he struck out four batters in two innings. Ron Marinaccio came in for him, and got Cedric Mullins to ground out. In that process of that at-bat, Mateo also stole second, allowing him to move up to third on the ground out. That would place him in perfect position to score when Rutschman dropped in a single to tie things up. Marinaccio got out the inning after that, but the lead was now gone, and soon the tie would vanish as well.

Marinaccio returned for the seventh, but had a bit of trouble with control and issued a lead-off walk to Ryan Mountcastle, while he then bounced back with a strikeout, Mountcastle also swiped second to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. Jimmy Cordero replaced Marinaccio, but the very first pitch he threw was a wild one, moving Mountcastle to third. the second one he threw was laced into left-center for a Urías double, putting the Orioles back in front. After a groundout moved the runner up, another Cordero wild pitch allowed Urías to score an insurance run.

The back-and-forth nature of the game then continued in the eighth. Stanton set the inning up well when he started it with a complete rocket of a double. Torres then put runners on the corners with a single, and Cabrera continued his big day with an RBI single. With still nobody out, the Yankees had a big chance at more, but Trevino was robbed of a hit by an impressive play by Urías, who started off a double play. Isiah Kiner-Falefa — who had entered as a pinch-hitter in the sixth — couldn’t do anything himself, and struck out to end the threat.

In the ninth, the Yankees had the part of the order you’d want due up. Aaron Judge drew a walk, managing to keep his on-base streak alive by the skin of his teeth. He got within 90 feet of being the tying run, but the Yankees couldn’t push him across, as Baltimore sealed the win by inducing an easy fly ball from Anthony Rizzo.

Not that the other two losses haven’t had annoying aspects, but this is a solid early nominee for most frustrating loss of the season. The Yankees will have to brush it off tomorrow night, when lefties Cole Irvin and Nestor Cortes* go head-to-head at 7:05pm ET.

*Update: Jhony Brito will be called up to make the start with Cortes and the rest of the rotation likely sliding back a day.

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