Okay, so 2 of the games played in the Grapefruit League were cancelling today on account of a giant storm system that came over the area today, leaving streets flooded and filled with debris like downed tree branches. Had the game been in Tampa, it would’ve been the third game cancelled. But Sarasota (where the Orioles are), just about an hour south, didn’t get that heavy of a storm, but they certainly got a great view as the shelf cloud made its way through the area just north of them.
And the only way to relate this game is do this chronologically. The 1st inning looked promising for both teams — 6-up, 6-down rather quickly. Yankees’ starter Ivan Nova was looking good on the mound too. But then the back-and-forth started in the 2nd inning, and neither team came out all that clean (both offensively and defensively). With Ackley and Parmelee on base with walks and 2 outs, Chris Denorfia smacked a big 3-run home run up the middle to put the Yankees on the board with a splash. The Orioles answered back with a 1-out solo home run of their own off Nova in the bottom of that inning.
In the 3rd, Brett Gardner led-off with a perfect bunt single, followed up by Gregorius’ double to put them in scoring position. Starlin Castro’s sac fly then scored Gardner, and Chase Headley’s single scored Ackley to increase the Yankees lead. But the Orioles weren’t going away quietly with a 2-run home run off Nova in the bottom of that inning. And the O’s continued to play catch up with another 2-run home run in the 4th, and a 2-out RBI single in the 5th. That ended Nova’s messy outing there with some forgettable statistics that won’t help him in that contest to be the 5th starter this season — 5 allowed hits, 6 runs scored (only 5 earned), and 3 walks over his 4.2 innings.
The Yankees called on reliever Johnny Barbato to close out the 5th and carry the 6th inning, something he did with perfection — getting 4 straight outs. Actually, the 6th inning was another 6-up, 6-down inning. The only innings this game when a run did not score were the 1st and 6th innings. Yeah, it was that kind of game.
Anyway, with the score sitting at 6-5 Orioles into the 7th inning, the Yankees had their own catching up to do. So Puello led-off the inning with a double and then scored on Gardner’s nice triple (seriously, Gardner played an amazing game today). Ben Gamel came in to pinch run for Gardner as he was the last starter to be replaced at that point. Gamel then scored on Torreyes’ 1-out single to give the Yankees a 1-run lead. But the Orioles’ played their home run card once again to tie up the game off reliever Nick Goody, who was virtually flawless except that perfect home run pitch.
With runners on the corners and 1 out in the 8th, Gamel’s ground out scored a run for the Yankees to push them ahead again. A lead they held onto through reliever James Pazos’ perfect 8th inning. Nick Rumbelow came on for the 9th inning in hopes of getting those 3 outs and the win. But a beautiful solo home run (yes, another one) tied the game back again and would send the game into the 10th inning.
Okay, let me say that the worst inning by an Orioles’ pitcher was the 10th inning, and because of how statistics are awarded, he went home today with the win. The Yankees led-off the 10th with a double, an RBI single, another single, and another single to load up the bases (all with no outs, by the way). Things were looking promising as Pete Kozma stepped up to bat. Kozma unfortunately hit into a double play, but the insurance run scored. And by the mid-10th, the Yankees were ahead by 2 runs. Once again, they just needed 3 quick outs.
But it was not to be. Matt Tracy on the mound for the Yankees and 2 runners on base after a couple of errors by 3rd baseman Refsnyder. Refsnyder came out of the game at that point, after taking a grounder to the face (and needing some ice and a bandaid, but nothing more, thank goodness!). A walk loaded the bases (still no outs), and then a single scored a run keeping those bases loaded. But another single and 2 runs scored and the Orioles got their walk-off win today.
Some statistics to wrap your head around: 15 Orioles’ hits (9 by Yankees batters), 12 total walks, 15 total strikeouts, and 6 total home runs (5 by Orioles’ batters). To be fair, the Orioles won today’s games on the backs of those home runs.
Final score: 11-10 Orioles, in 10 innings.
I wish I could say there was a “one-to-watch”, but today’s game was rather messy. So I’m going to throw in relievers Johnny Barbato and James Pazos as having flawless outings and deserving some credit for keeping the score a 1-run game.