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Yankees 1, Orioles 3: The Kyle Gibson Show, for some reason

Gibson and the O’s pitching staff stifled the Yankees to snatch victory in this three-game set in the Bronx.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Well, that was no fun. In a game that many would have pegged as most likely to be a shootout, a pitchers’ duel erupted. Kyle Gibson and Clarke Schmidt both spun impressive outings, but it was Gibson who came out with seven scoreless inning and the win, as the Baltimore Orioles took the away series from the New York Yankees with a decisive 3-1 victory in the Bronx.

In the game thread, I wrote that Gibson was the type of pitcher that the Yankees lineup is designed to feast against. For the first pitch of the game, that looked like a prediction, as Gleyber Torres laced a sinker up the middle at 105.6 mph for a single. From there, however, the Yankees bats went colder than Hoth in winter.

The Yankees would not have another baserunner until Ben Rortvedt walked in the third. They would not hit the ball out of the infield until Greg Allen flew out to center field one batter after Rortvedt. They would not put a runner in scoring position until Harrison Bader stole second in the fourth. They would not have a ball in play with an xBA higher than .280 until Aaron Judge flew out to center to lead off the eighth. And they would not have another hit until Willie Calhoun led off the seventh with a single, one that — much like Torres’ in the first — was ultimately erased on an inning-ending double play.

Not only did the Yankees offense do nothing of note, they didn’t even make things interesting for most of the game. There were no hard-hit balls that required great defensive efforts by Baltimore defenders, no rallies that almost scored but couldn’t cross the plate. Honestly, there’s really not much to say at all. Harrison Bader, though, probably reflects how most Yankees fans felt watching the offense tonight.

Ironically, the only time the Yankees offense looked somewhat competent came in the bottom of the ninth against Orioles relief ace Yennier Cano. Judge opened the frame with a walk, the first Cano has issued in 25.2 innings on the year. He would advance to second when Anthony Rizzo grounded out to second, before coming around to score — just the second run Cano has surrendered this year — on a two-out double by Calhoun. Unfortunately, that would be all they would get.

At least things were better on the other side of the mound. Clarke Schmidt put together a pretty solid outing all things considered, as he allowed just one run on five hits in five innings of work, striking out four and walking just two. He dealt with traffic on the basepaths in all three odd-numbered innings he pitched, allowing a E6 single to Anthony Santander and walking both Ryan Mountcastle and Gunner Henderson in the first to load the bases, surrendering back-to-back singles to Santander and Mountcastle in the third, and giving up a one-out double to Adam Frazier in the fifth. Only in the final frame, however, were the O’s able to cash in on the baserunners, as Santander lined a single past a diving Rizzo with two outs to score Frazier and give Baltimore a 1-0 lead.

Despite the fact that he got tagged with the loss, this outing should be considered a productive one for Schmidt. The Baltimore lineup has so far this season been one of the most dangerous in the American League, coming into the game ranked fourth in OPS+ (110) and runs/game (5.18). On top of that, they loaded the lineup with lefties, against whom Schmidt has been notoriously bad this year (lefties have been slashing .356/.430/.644 off him). Not only did Schmidt limit them to one run, he kept them to just seven hard-hit balls and allowed just a .254 xBA. While these metrics are not the recipe for consistent one-run outings, they are more than acceptable for a bottom-of-the-rotation starter. If you only allow one run, you shouldn’t be the loser.

With Schmidt’s pitch count elevated and looking to avoid ending his evening on a sour note, acting manager Carlos Mendoza* turned the game over to the bullpen, and without allowing a big hit, they immediately tried to set the game on fire. Gunnar Henderson led off the sixth against Nick Ramirez with an infield single, a dribbler down the first base line with a measured distance of three feet and a 56.8 exit velocity. After Austin Hays flew out to left field for the first out of the inning, Henderson stole second with Ryan O’Hearn at the plate. The Baltimore first baseman would himself hit a routine grounder to first base that Rizzo fielded and threw to Ramirez covering first...who proceeded to drop the ball and allow O’Hearn to reach.

*Mendoza was managing since Aaron Boone got ejected early for arguing balls and strikes. It’s his fourth ejection already in 2023.

With runners on first and third and one out, the Yankees summoned one of yesterday’s villains, Jimmy Cordero. This time around, Cordero got the job done, quickly getting Ryan McKenna to ground into a 6-6-3 double play to strand Henderson at third.

Cordero opened the top of the seventh by striking out Jorge Mateo, then quickly found himself in his own jam. Frazier then laced a liner at Rizzo, who knocked it down, corralled it, threw it to Cordero covering first ... who proceeded to drop it. Looking to keep things from getting out of hand, the Yankees summoned Wandy Peralta from the bullpen. He decided the script from the previous inning worked perfectly, and got Adley Rutschman to ground into a 6-6-3 double play to end the inning.

In the eighth inning, it was Wandy’s turn. He walked Santander on four pitches to open the frame, including a wild pitch that went straight to the backstop. From there, his command only got slightly better. After somehow managing to strike out Mountcastle on six pitches, he walked Henderson, prompting the Yankees to summon Clay Holmes from the bullpen with runners on first and second and one out. Unfortunately, this one did not work out as well as the other two, as Austin Hays took a sinker left up in the zone to right field for a double off the wall that came as close to being a porch job as you can get without it being a porch job.

The Yankees are back in action tomorrow night, as they welcome the Franciscan Friars — err, I mean the San Diego Padres — to the Bronx. Randy Vásquez will be making his MLB debut, although it remains to be seen whether he will be a traditional starter or the bulk guy following an opener; Brother Musgrove will get the ball for San Diego. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm EDT; it will be an Apple TV+ exclusive.

Box Score