So it looks like Charm City remembered it had a baseball team. Well, some of them did. The Orioles were at 43% capacity for tonight’s game for the final game of this series. But numbers-wise, it’s still low turn out for baseball games.
Masahiro Tanaka threw yet another beautiful game and came up with a no-decision because the Yankees couldn’t seem to collectively put together any run support. That’s what’s the most disheartening about tonight’s loss. I mean, if he’d pitched just terribly or the defense just crumbled, then it would be disappointing but not unexpected. It just hurts to watch this be swept away after all of Tanaka’s just beautiful work. Tanaka threw 102 pitches in 8 shut out innings, giving up just 5 hits and a walk, and getting 7 of Baltimore’s batters to swing at some of the nastiest pitches.
The Orioles’ starter practically matched Tanaka in numbers, as the Yankees couldn’t seem to collectively put anything on the board for run support. Plus, Girardi got ejected in the 4th inning asking for an explanation as to why a balk wasn’t called on the pitcher. Because you should always eject someone asking for an explanation and then continue to harrass them as they try to leave the game peacefully, intentionally enticing them into further argumentation. Trivia: the very same umpire gave Girardi his first managerial ejection back in 2008.
Starting in the 9th inning, both teams went to their bullpens. Betances sailed through a 10-pitch inning for the Yankees, and when the Yankees got a man on, the Orioles switched to a new guy. To match them, the Yankees went to Johnny Barbato for the 10th inning, which may have been a misstep in hindsight as in 5 pitches to 2 batters who both singled to get on base and put them on the corners. All 12 Baltimore fans were on their feet in anticipation. (Pardon the hyperbole, but the lack of attendance is reminiscent of jokes made about the Rays or some of the smaller market teams and is rather off-putting.)
So it was “Miller Time” to try to shut down the threat. Unfortunately, a sacrifice fly scored the runner from 3rd, and the walk-off worked for the Orioles. There was just an accumulation of little things that led to this event, and at one point, it was just kind of inevitable. Which, again, is a super shame because of Tanaka’s amazingness tonight.
Oh, and let’s talk for a minute about Dustin Ackley’s spider-man skills. Playing in right field for only the 2nd time in his career, Ackley made the play of the night in the 9th inning. On a long fly ball, Ackley jumped up and arched just right to catch the ball, slamming off this ugly hotdog ad and then throwing it back into get the runner doubling off 1st. Apparently, the Orioles didn’t believe Ackley could really make the catch and asked for a replay to confirm he didn’t catch it in a rebound off the wall. Nope. On any angle, it was very obvious that Ackley channeled his inner Peter Parker and made the play of the night (which essentially sent the game into extra innings, by the way).
Final score: 1-0 Orioles in 10, Orioles win series 2-1 (Also: Yankees went 2-7 on this road trip.)
On the Scranton Shuttle today: The day after James Pazos was called up, he was sent back to AAA today without throwing a pitch. Also, it was his 25th birthday. Happy Birthday, here’s your free ticket back to Pennsylvania. With Gardner still very sore from the hit-by-pitch elbow injury from yesterday (he pinch-run tonight but didn’t hit or defend), the Yankees need an extra outfielder. So they called up Ben Gamel (the story leaked through the press train via Gamel’s best friend who was stoked for his friend to finally make it to the majors). Gamel did impress for the last couple of Springs but still needed some fine-tuning, hence the extended stay in Scranton. Perhaps, he’ll have a chance to prove himself during this long upcoming home stand.
Yes, the Yankees are headed back to New York for a 10-game home stand — a weekend series against the Red Sox, then 4 games against the Royals, and winding up next weekend against the White Sox. I feel like there’s a joke to be made in there about pink majestic laundry, but I can’t seem to find it.