There have always been players that seem to play well against a certain team, like Ortiz, Trout, Bautista, and Longoria all being considered “Yankee Killers” at some point. But certain Yankees have the same affect on other teams. Currently, the two Yankee players that could be considered “Oriole Killers” are Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres. And fortunately, they were in fine form waging a big come-from-behind rally in the late innings of tonight’s game.
JA Happ got the start in tonight’s opener in Baltimore, and it was certainly one of his less than ideal starts. He threw 77 pitches into the 4th inning, gave up 9 hits, a walk, and 6 runs, and struck out just 3 batters. In the 1st, a lead-off double moved to 3rd on a ground out and then scored on a double. A single later scored that runner to give the Orioles an early lead.
In the 3rd, Happ gave up a lead-off solo home run and, after 2 outs, another solo home run. Then, with 2 outs in the 4th, a double scored on a single. After that runner stole 2nd, he scored on another single. That was the end of Happ’s troubled outing, handing the game over to Luis Cessa.
Cessa initially kept the Orioles from adding to their lead through the 5th. But his 6th had some defensive issues. With 1 out, a solid triple later scored on a sacrifice fly before he got out of the inning. Holder then had a much better scoreless 7th inning, which Britton followed up with his own solid 8th.
Meanwhile, the Yankees seemed a little sluggish to start their offense. Gleyber Torres started things with a big 1-out solo home run in the 2nd. But it wasn’t until the 6th that they found another opportunity. LeMahieu singled and Hicks walked, and both moved up into scoring position on a ground out. Gary Sanchez singled home LeMahieu, and Kendrys Morales’ ground out scored Hicks.
Once they got rolling, the Yankees found momentum in the final third of the game. In the 7th, Urshela singled, moved to 2nd on Maybin’s 1-out walk, and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single. After a pitching change, Maybin scored on Aaron Hicks’ fly out and a really bad throwing error. With 2 outs and another pitching change in 8th, Gleyber Torres hit another solo home run, which was upheld despite an umpire review.
Then in the 9th, the Yankees found the final push for the rally. Gardner led-off with a single. Maybin then singled, but both runners ended up in scoring position due to a sluggish and sloppy defense. With 1 out, Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly scored Gardner to officially tie up the game. After Voit’s walk, Gary Sanchez smacked a big 3-run home run to finally put the Yankees in the lead.
Chapman closed out the bottom of the 9th with 3 great strikeouts, including the final pitch of a 101 mph, to earn his 12th save this year and deliver the Yankees the win.
Final score: 10-7 Yankees
Injury update: Miguel Andujar had surgery today on the torn ligament in his shoulder. He’s been troubled for quite a bit of it this season before it finally came to a point where surgery was the best option for him, despite ending this season. It is disappointing, but like many injured players this year, they are finding out that the Yankees are ready to step it up when one of their own needs a moment to heal and recover without losing a beat (or a game, usually).