The big story coming into this game was the return of Aaron Judge. In the two months he’s been out with a toe injury, the Yankees’ offense has stagnated, often making it look like they were a one-man team that could only score with him in the lineup.
While Judge somewhat did his job in his first game back drawing a couple walks, this time it was their other star who made the Yankees look like a one-man team. In seven innings, Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole allowed no runs on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts. It was every bit the outing you want from your #1 starter against an Orioles’ team that leads the AL East. Unfortunately, the Yankees’ offense did not back him up.
Orioles’ starter Grayson Rodriguez has lots of potential with his top 10 prospect pedigree, but he had yet to show it in the major leagues. BUT in this game, he held the Yankees to just three hits and no runs in 6.1 innings. Eventually, the game turned into a battle of the bullpens, which the Orioles eventually won 1-0 thanks to a Anthony Santander walk-off home run.
After a long rain delay, we finally got to see baseball and Judge two and a half hours after the originally scheduled first pitch. It didn’t take long for Judge to jump right back into the first, as in, not only was he in the second spot in the lineup, but he swung at the first pitch he saw. He made fine contact with it, but it hung up in the air a little too long and was caught for a line out.
The Yankees’ offense went down in order until Judge stepped to the plate for the second time. Despite falling behind 0-2, he managed to work a walk on four-straight balls. Anthony Rizzo added a single for the Yankees’ first hit of the day, but the Judge return magic didn’t fully work as they couldn’t plate a run from that spot.
On the mound, Cole was dominant. Only twice did a Baltimore batter even get into scoring position against him in the first seven innings. He ended up departing after the seventh, having done pretty much all he could’ve done in this game.
Despite that, the offense still wasn’t able to break through. One of the more frustrating sequences came in the eighth inning. To start things off, Anthony Volpe was robbed of at least two, maybe three with his speed, bases by a diving Santander catch.
It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Santander pic.twitter.com/xQA500onPq— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 29, 2023
After that, a Jake Bauers single and a Judge walk gave the offense a running in scoring position. However, another nice defensive play robbed Rizzo of a potential go-ahead hit and got Baltimore out of the inning.
Failing to capitalize there or at any other time finally came back to haunt the Yankees in the ninth. While Michael King and Wandy Peralta followe Cole with a scoreless eighth inning, Tommy Kahnle couldn’t quite do the same in the ninth. Santander got him for a walk-off solo shot to give Baltimore the win.
The Yankees offense will try to bounce back tomorrow, and let’s face it: it would be hard for them to do any worse. Clarke Schmidt and Tyler Wells will get the start in game two of this set tomorrow night.