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Yankees 6, Orioles 9: Catastrophic seventh sinks Yanks

A 5-1 lead fell to pieces in the seventh when the O’s dropped eight, as the Yanks lost a chance to win the series.

Adley Rutschman hustles home with a run during the Orioles’ seventh-inning barrage.
Adley Rutschman hustles home with a run during the Orioles’ seventh-inning barrage.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On a rainy night in which both starters looked good out of the gate before ultimately running out of gas, the Yankees blew a four-run lead in spectacular fashion, snapping their season-high five-game win streak. After Baltimore’s eight-run seventh, there was no coming back in this one as New York fell, 9-6.

Both pitchers retired their first seven hitters. Nestor Cortes set down the first seven Orioles before surrendering a walk and a groundball single through the hole on the right side of the infield. He erased the threat by getting Cedric Mullins to fly out into the wind and then orchestrated this gorgeous pickoff play to nab Jorge Mateo at second base:

Tyler Wells, meanwhile, wasn’t as fortunate when his little run ended. After 2.1 perfect innings, Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit his first triple as a Yankee, a 107.3-mph laser over Mullins’ head. Kyle Higashioka struck out next, but then Gleyber Torres plated IKF with a laser of his own, 108.3 mph off the bat and 414 feet deep into the Orioles’ bullpen in left center for his eighth long ball of the year:

But that’s when Ryan Mountcastle said “hold my beer,” depositing his own 107.7-mph bullet into the Baltimore ‘pen, 426 feet out, to cut the Yankees’ 2-0 lead in half:

Thereafter, the pitching duel resumed for a moment. After the Torres home run, Wells retired four of the next five hitters he faced. But he walked Anthony Volpe to start the fifth, and that’s when IKF struck again:

The utilityman’s third homer of the season came in his 96th plate appearance; last year, it took him nearly 400 trips to the plate to hit his first dinger as a Yankee. And after another Higashioka strikeout, Torres went deep once more, running the score to 5-1:

For the Yankees’ second baseman, this game only served to further the narrative that he crushes the Orioles and hates orange, no matter how little of the color is actually on Baltimore’s away grays.

Wells finished with eight K’s but the three dingers doomed him. For as good as he’s been this year, he’s now allowed 13 homers in 57 innings.

Cortes looked sharper for longer, shutting down the next seven O’s after the Mountcastle home run. Through six innings, he had thrown just 77 pitches, and seemed poised to double down on last week’s longer outing. The Yankees had a seemingly secure 5-1 lead and felt comfortable sending the southpaw out to start the seventh.

But then Cortes ran out of steam again, walking Anthony Santander to start the seventh. Next, Volpe failed to corral a 109.6-mph scorcher off the bat of Austin Hays. Three pitches later, unlikely hero Adam Frazier homered off the foul pole down the right field line, a unicorn homer that only would have gone out in Yankee Stadium:

That ended the southpaw’s night; he walked two and struck out five, but also generated just three whiffs and saw a slight dip in fastball velocity down the stretch.

Perhaps because he was rushed into action, things didn’t go Jimmy Cordero’s way when he relieved Cortes. Still with no one out, he allowed three straight hits, the big blow a pinch-hit two-run double down the line courtesy of the rookie Gunnar Henderson:

That snapped a 22.1-inning scoreless streak for the Yankees’ bullpen, and all of a sudden the Orioles had a 6-5 lead. The floodgates opened, and things also got a bit sloppy from there.

Mullins struck out but then Henderson moved to third on a Higashioka passed ball in an at-bat that culminated in a Rutschman walk. That ended Cordero’s night, and Mountcastle brought Henderson home with a sac fly on Albert Abreu’s first pitch. Judge threw off-target for an error, which cost the Yankees a base that Rutschman used to score from second on a Santander single. Once again, a bad (and unnecessary) throw home, this one hitting the mound and resulting in an error charged to Harrison Bader, cost the Yankees a base and ultimately another run:

The eight-run inning called to mind the Yankees’ nine-run debacle against the Twins last month, the kind of poor play they were hoping they’d left behind with the return of some prime contributors.

The rain resumed in the bottom of the seventh, and Orioles’ reliever Mychal Givens got wild, clearly struggling to grip the baseball and loading the bases with a pair of walks and a hit batsman. Even after the rain stopped and Danny Coulombe relieved Givens, Anthony Rizzo dropped a single into left to bring the score to 9-6:

But Coulombe fired off a bunch of nasty sliders to strike out DJ LeMahieu and notch a Bader groundout. The Yankees never really threatened again, and Félix Bautista avenged his blown save last night by slamming the door in the ninth.

The game as a whole was a mixed bag; the offense was solid, but the pitching faltered, the defense cost the squad a couple of runs but also saved at least one. This was especially true of Volpe’s fielding — though he couldn’t come up with the Hays grounder that opened the floodgates in the seventh, he made this spectacular play (on a ball with an expected batting average of .580) in the eighth:

The Yankees will look to end this series on a high note tomorrow with a more well-rounded performance. Clarke Schmidt will face off against Kyle Gibson in that one, which will hopefully start on time. It’s scheduled for a 7:05 pm EST first pitch.

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