Between the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees on Friday night, there was only one hit the entire game by either side with a runner in scoring position. But fortunately for the Orioles, it was Nick Hundley who came through with that one-out hit after Manny Machado had doubled to lead off the bottom of the 10th inning. Baltimore won the game, 3-2.
The O’s only managed a total of five hits over the entire 10 innings – two singles by both Hundley and Adam Jones, and the set-up double by Machado. At the same time, the Yankees were only managing seven hits, including a pair of solo home runs off Miguel Gonzalez who went eight strong innings.
The first run of the game was a second-inning solo blast by Brian Roberts. He saw a first pitch in his power zone and quickly re-acquainted himself with Camden Yards and the local crowd. Many had wondered what sort of reaction he would receive upon his first trip back to his home of 13 prior seasons. The welcome was rather quiet – just a smattering of cheers and boos. But there was nothing quiet about Roberts’ quick swing.
As excellent as Gonzalez was, Yanks starter Hiroki Kuroda was as good or better. The Orioles only managed three hits in seven innings. After his departure, the O’s witnessed one of the most effective pitchers in baseball right now – Dellin Betances. His two innings added to his seasonal total of 55.1 over 40 appearances, with a 4-0 record and ERA of 1.46.
Finally, the Orioles were able to get to Adam Warren with the two hits in the 10th inning. The RBI by Nick Hundley came on a 2-2 count, and the Birds’ catcher did not miss it. He squared it perfectly between the shortstop and second base and the Orioles walked off with the series opening victory.
The win drops the Yankees to an even .500 record and five game behind the Baltimore Orioles. The second-place Jays did beat the Rays to remain three games behind. They did it 8-5 with three runs in the top of the ninth to make a loser of Grant Balfour. I know this is going to shock you, but Nolan Reimold had to leave the game with a calf strain while running the bases.
You may shake your head in amazement at yet another Reimold injury (he is day to day). But at least he did it playing baseball. Ubaldo Jimenez has been put on the DL by the Orioles for an ankle sprain suffered in a parking lot. Along with Troy Patton, he demonstrates the great danger zone that is to be found when walking across a parking lot or in a parking deck.
Chris Tillman will now take the mound for Saturday’s game two of the series, while Kevin Gausman will start on Sunday. Did I just hear you say that this sounds like a better arrangement than the original plan?
Tillman now has a 7-4 record with a 4.11 ERA in 19 starts over 111.2 innings. The Orioles have won his last four games, and Tillman has a 1.95 ERA over those starts with opponents only hitting .198 since June 22. The first game in this stretch was an 8-0 win over the Yankees in his only start against them this year. Tillman went seven innings and only gave up four hits.
That sounds a lot better than Tillman’s career numbers of 5-4 against NY in 11 starts, with a 5.83 ERA. But then again, this current Yankees lineup does not look much like what we have seen over recent years from the guys in pinstripes.
The Orioles will be facing Shane Greene in the 4:05 game. This will be his third career big league game and his second start. He was successful in beating the Indians this past Monday, giving up two runs on four hits in six innings. He was 5-2 at AAA this year with a 4.61 ERA and WHIP of 1.58. So the Orioles should beat him all over Camden Yards, right? One would think so. On paper, the boy (he is actually only seven months younger than Tillman) has no chance against the powerful O’s lineup, except that the Birds have a reputation of being unable to hit a guy they’ve never seen before.