The Yankees clinched another series win today, by beating the Baltimore Orioles for the third time in four tries.
Michael Pineda was electric this afternoon. His only blemish, a J.J. Hardy solo home run in the second inning. That aside though, he was simply dominant, with 16 strikeouts in 7 innings pitched. Overpowering.
Meanwhile, Bud Norris was struggling with his command of the strike zone early, and the Yankees were in a good spot after Brett Gardner reached on a single and Mark Teixeira walked. Brian McCann was at the plate with a 2-0 count, but Gardner committed a major TOOTBLAN when he was caught stealing third base for the third out in the inning.
Contrasting performance levels for the two starting pitchers, but the Yankees trailed early in any case as the Bombers were largely dormant until the fourth inning, where Carlos Beltran woke things up with his first home run of the year to tie the game. Chase Headley followed it up with a walk. Stephen Drew and Didi Gregorius singled, with Headley coming home on heads-up baserunning after being initially held at third. Jacoby Ellsbury doubled to clear the bases and put the Yankees up 4-1. That knocked Norris out of the game, and Brian Matusz came on to get the Orioles out of the fourth, but the damage was done and a masterful Pineda had the lead he needed.
McCann tacked on further with a solo shot in the fifth inning. Gregorius doubled in McCann in the bottom of the seventh, he would have driven Drew in as well if he hadn't made the third out of the inning trying to stretch out a triple. Second TOOTBLAN of the day, still, that made it 6-1 Yankees.
Esmil Rogers gave the Orioles a run back in the eighth after a Jimmy Paredes double and an Adam Jones single, and Joe Girardi had seen enough to send in Dellin Betances who promptly collected the final five outs, tacking on a pair more strikeouts to lift the team total to 18 on the day.
The Yankees now have 20 wins and 12 losses, an impressive return for the first fifth of the season. They'll look to carry their momentum to Tropicana Field tomorrow, where they start another four game series. CC Sabathia will be on the mound for the Yankees facing Alex Colome of the Tampa Bay Rays. First pitch is at 7:05 Eastern.