The Baltimore Orioles continued their undefeated season on Friday evening, defeating the New York Yankees 6-5 with a seventh-inning home run by Seth Smith.
If you wanted to create a formula for how the Baltimore Orioles have been so successful from 2012 through the present, what would that method look like?
HRs + RP + D = W
For those not as familiar with shorthand, that is home runs plus relief pitching plus defense equals wins.
As has frequently been discussed, in the time frame from 2012 to now, the Baltimore Orioles have used that equation to gather more wins than anyone else in the American League. It has led to three playoff appearances and one ALCS appearance.
The formula was on full display on Friday night.
But, the bottom of the fifth started with a leadoff single by Jonathan Schoop. Two outs later, Luis Severino walked Adam Jones, and it ended up costing him dearly. Manny Machado crushed the next pitch to left-center field for a three-run home run, an Earl Weaver special, to make it a one-run game.
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From there, the Orioles’ bullpen shut down the Yankees. Oliver Drake relieved Jimenez in the fifth and was followed by Darren O’Day, Donnie Hart (W, 1-0 – his first MLB win), Brad Brach and Zach Britton.
Brach, in particular, was lights out, striking out the side in emphatic fashion in the 8th. Zach Britton was much, much better in the ninth than his first two outings, getting a strikeout and two ground ball outs. However, on the second out, a comebacker to Britton, it appeared he may have turned his ankle, and the severity of his injury is still unknown if he is injured at all.
In the seventh, Jonathan Schoop led off with a sharp ground ball to Chase Headley at third off Tyler Clippard, the new Yankees’ 7th inning man. Headley had just made two great defensive plays in the 6th, but he rushed the throw, and Greg Bird had little chance to scoop it. Schoop ended up on second base on the error.
J.J. Hardy laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Schoop to third with one out.
Seth Smith stepped up and deposited a 2-1 pitch just over the scoreboard in right to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. It was a chilly night in Baltimore, but that ball seemed to keep carrying until it was over the wall.
As for the defense in the Orioles’ winning equation, it was again led by the fantastic glove work by Chris Davis at first base. However, that at this point is worthy of its discussion altogether.