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Yankees 6, Orioles 3: Bader mashin’ taters!

The center fielder’s three-run blast in the eighth proved the decisive blow.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Harrison Bader seems to have a knack for coming up big in high-pressure situations. With the game tied at three and storm clouds threatening over the Stadium in the eighth, the clutch center fielder blasted a three-run shot against the fearsome Baltimore bullpen, completing the comeback all the way from being down early, 3-0. Anthony Volpe and Kyle Higashioka also chipped in with solo shots while the bullpen was typically dominant en route to a 6-3 victory in the series opener against a key division rival.

Domingo Germán bested the three other Yankees to throw a perfect game by retiring the side in order in the first. Per The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner, David Cone walked the leadoff batter, David Wells gave up a single with one out in the first, and Don Larsen issued a leadoff double in the games following their perfectos. The streak came to an end at 30 up, 30 down as he gave up a leadoff single to Ryan O’Hearn, falling well short of the 45 outs in a row by Mark Buehrle when he threw his perfect game in 2009 and the MLB record of 46 straight retired by Yusmeiro Petit across six relief appearances in 2014.

O’Hearn actually ended up advancing to second on a rare misplay from Bader and from that point forward it was business as usual, with Germán needing to bear down against a real MLB lineup. A Ramón Urías single put runners on the corners for Cedric Mullins, who drove O’Hearn home with a single of his own. Germán managed to stop the bleeding there, picking off Urías at second with the help of a heads-up play by Volpe to block the bag with his foot and apply the quick tag.

That brought Aaron Hicks to the dish for his first plate appearance against the Yankees since his DFA. The Yankees aired a tribute video on the jumbotron earlier which generated the expected response from the Bronx crowd. He popped into an infield fly and Adam Frazier grounded out to strand Mullins, but the reprieve would only be temporary for Germán.

The sloppy outfield defense continued in the third with Isiah Kiner-Falefa misplaying back-to-back fly balls from Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman, the latter of which carried an expected out probability of 85 percent yet dropped behind the overextended IKF to plate Henderson. O’Hearn’s second single of the contest drove in the Orioles’ third run, which would seem an insurmountable mountain for this struggling Yankees offense.

That is, until Volpe, Higashioka, and Bader had their say. With two outs in the fifth, Volpe lasered a hanging slider for a solo shot, his 11th of the year. Higashioka, who started his night with a double in the third before getting thrown out at third on a grounder hit in front of him, went back-to-back with Volpe and all of a sudden the Yankees’ deficit was cut to 3-2.

Germán would make it into the fifth, but a pair of one-out singles from Rutschman and Santander ended his night. It goes without saying that Germán was nowhere near as sharp as that historic night in Oakland. Too many of his pitches ended up elevated and the Orioles feasted. In 4.1 innings, Germán allowed three runs (two earned) on nine hits against five strikeouts, throwing 86 pitches.

Nick Ramirez inherited runners on the corners with one out but stranded them where they stood. He’d follow it up with a 1-2-3 sixth as he continues to shine as one of the hidden gems unearthed by the Yankees pitching department. Ian Hamilton got into a bit of trouble in the seventh giving up a single and double but got O’Hearn to line out to strand the pair.

The questionable decision-making returned in the bottom of the seventh after IKF singled to lead off followed by a Volpe single and Higashioka sacrifice to put runners on second and third. DJ LeMahieu tapped back to the pitcher, but the Yankees had the contact play on and we know how that ends. IKF was out at home by several steps. However, the team MVP from 2021 returned as a wild pitch from All-Star Yennier Cano went to the backstop, allowing Volpe to score the tying run.

Tommy Kahnle worked a scoreless eighth and at this point momentum felt squarely on the Yankees’ side. Giancarlo Stanton led off the bottom-half with a scorched single to center and was replaced by pinch-runner Oswaldo Cabrera. Anthony Rizzo laced a single to right putting two on with no outs for Bader.

Manager Aaron Boone initially put the bunt sign on, but on the third pitch of the AB, Bader said “Screw it” and launched a three run no-doubter to left that almost landed in the second deck.

Somehow this Yankees offense managed to mount the comeback against the vaunted Baltimore bullpen, allowing them to hand the ball to Clay Holmes in the ninth. Much as he’s been doing over the past two months, the Yankees closer pitched a dominant 1-2-3 frame to seal the victory, 6-3.

Clarke Schmidt will hope to continue his stretch of impressive starts going tomorrow on July 4th against Kyle Gibson. First pitch for the Independence Day matinee is scheduled for 1:05 pm ET, so be sure to join us in the game thread!

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