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Yankees 5, Orioles 3: Walk off saves the offense from missed opportunities

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight was a night of wasted opportunities for the Yankees and still they managed to win. They had nine hits and six walks, but only managed to score a single run through the first eight innings. You would think that facing the struggling Ubaldo Jimenez in Yankee Stadium would be a matchup they might benefit from, but they weren't able to do much. The Orioles bullpen kept the team in check before the Yankees walked off on a Carlos Beltran home run in the bottom of the ninth.

The game started off well for the Yankees when they scored a run in the first. Jacoby Ellsbury singled, stole second, and scored on a Mark Teixeira double. The Yankees looked like they were going to take control of the game early, but they couldn't make anything happen on several occasions.

They rolled into the second inning ready to continue their onslaught against Ubaldo Jimenez when Carlos Beltran doubled. Brian Roberts singled, stole second, and Yangervis Solarte walked, giving them the bases loaded with only one out. Unfortunately, third base coach Rob Thomson decided to do what he does best and send Beltran home after a very shallow fly ball to Adam Jones. Needless to say, it ended very, very poorly as it led to an inning-ending double play and no one scored. They had another chance in the fifth when Ubaldo walked Brett Gardner, he stole second, and both Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury walked to load the bases with two outs. Unfortunately, Mark Teixeira grounded out to first base and the inning ended without a run.

Hiroki Kuroda took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but then it all came to an end before the excitement could even start. Nick Hundley and Steve Pearce each hit a double, and just like that the game was tied 1–1. The inning didn't end there, though, as Adam Jones singled to allow the Orioles to take a one run lead. Kuroda went on to give up two runs on four hits, a walk, and collect six strikeouts in six innings. As usual, he got almost no run support.

The Yankees came back and threatened in the bottom half of the inning when Brian McCann singled and Beltran walked. Too bad they messed it up when Ichiro Suzuki hit a pop-out bunt. Solarte at least managed to walk the bases loaded to chase Jimenez from the game, but they missed out on scoring yet again. So glad they bunted.

Just for kicks, they tried to rally again with two outs in the eighth against Darren O`Day. Alfonso Soriano pinch hit for Ichiro and hit a bloop single into center field. Brian Roberts got a hit to put two on, but Solarte wasn't able to do anything and they went another inning without scoring a run.

David Huff pitched the ninth, striking out two, but also giving up what was a very essential run at the time. Jonathan Schoop reached on a Solarte throwing error, but then Huff gave up two singles to let the Orioles score an insurance run to make it 3–1 and seemingly put it out of reach for the Yankees offense that was suddenly starting to turn into a pumpkin.

The ninth inning changed all that, though. Brett Gardner got everyone excited with a single off Zach Britton. After the lefty rebounded and got two outs, Mark Texeira walked and Brian McCann singled to score a run and put the Yankees to within one. Carlos Beltran came up to the plate and after five straight fastballs he finally swung the bat and launched the ball to left-center field for a walkoff three-run home run to save the offense from itself.

Other than Huff, the bullpen (mostly) did their job. Shawn Kelley pitched 1.1 innings where he gave up a hit and a walk, while collecting two strikeouts, but Matt Thornton was a different story. He came in with one out in the eighth, got the left-handed Chris Davis out, but then, unsurprisingly to everyone but Girardi, he couldn't get the next two righties out and instead surrendered consecutive base hits. Dellin Betances had to come in, throw seven pitches, and get out of the inning.

It's great that the Yankees won, obviously, but that doesn't excuse them from the ineptitude they showed all game long. I hope this was just a bad night and the progress they have made over the last few games won't just disappear again tomorrow. Vidal Nuno is pitching, so they need to score runs. Thankfully they woke up before it was too late.