Kyle Bradish imagined this night for at least two months.
Probably a lot longer.
Bradish stood outside the visiting clubhouse at the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa after tossing two scoreless innings, said he had fun pitching in front of a large crowd in prime time and facing a lineup stacked with regulars, and spoke without a trace of cockiness about future rematches.
“They’re in the division,” he said, “so getting an early look at them is always nice.”
The Orioles didn’t break camp with Bradish and kept him back at extended spring training to build up innings. He wasn’t promoted until April 29, the news breaking a day earlier while the Orioles coincidentally were at Yankee Stadium.
The exhibition scouting report was followed tonight by a regular season start, his fourth in the majors. So many familiar faces in the box. Players who had conspired to produce the best record in baseball.
Bradish shut out the Yankees again over two innings, but he didn’t leave until there was one out in the fifth, after they detailed the differences in these games.
Giancarlo Stanton had a run-scoring double in the third, Jose Trevino hit an opposite-field three-run homer in the fourth, the ball striking the foul pole, and the Yankees kept rolling this season with a 6-2 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards.
Anthony Santander’s leadoff home run in the bottom of the fourth was the only hit off Luis Severino, who struck out seven batters in six innings. Santander also homered off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.
Keegan Akin tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings and lowered his ERA to 1.46, but the Orioles (14-22) lost their fourth game in a row.
Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rizzo homered on consecutive pitches from Félix Bautista in the ninth, and the Yankees improved to 26-9.
Thirty of Bradish’s 84 pitches were thrown in an eventful first inning, when the Yankees loaded the bases and he went to four full counts. Three called third strikes, two walks, an infield hit and a visit from pitching coach Chris Holt.
Joey Gallo stared at a 3-2 slider that caught the plate for the final out, after Rougned Odor saved a run by ranging far to his left to glove Gleyber Torres’ ground ball, spun and threw home to keep Donaldson at third base.
The other strikeouts came on fastballs – 96 mph to leadoff hitter DJ LeMahieu and 95 to Rizzo.
Bradish shook his head as he returned to the dugout, came out of it for the second inning and retired the side in order on only six pitches. Because baseball. And because the Yankees were a lot more impatient, with two pitches producing two outs.
What was going through his mind after the first inning?
"A lot, fired up for getting out of it," he said. "But also mad for throwing 30 pitches and walking two guys in the first."
Stanton doubled to left-center field with two outs in the third inning to score Donaldson, who singled. A ball that likely would have been a home run in past years.
Stanton was out 7-6-2-5 after catcher Robinson Chirinos retrieved shortstop Ramón Urías’ incredibly wide relay to the plate.
Torres led off the fourth with a single, Isiah Kiner-Falefa reached on an infield hit with one out and Trevino followed with his first home run of the season. A fly ball that kept carrying until it met the pole.
Two more hits ensued, along with a second visit from Holt, before Ryan McKenna raced across the left field line and made a sliding catch of Rizzo’s fly ball.
Torres walked with one out in the fifth and Akin stranded him. Bradish allowed four runs and eight hits, with three walks and six strikeouts. Plate umpire Chris Conroy did a fair amount of squeezing.
"Changeup was working, slider was hit or miss," Bradish said. "Just wasn't in the zone consistently."
Bradish was working at a slower pace than usual in the first.
"Just trying to find it," he said. "It was easy the last outing. I was in the zone, everything was working. Today I was just trying to find out and that's probably why I wasn't in the zone as often."
Asked if facing the Yankees had him amped up more than usual, Bradish was economical with his words.
"No," he said.
Bradish proved too hard an act to follow after he allowed two runs and stuck out 11 Cardinals in seven innings in St. Louis.
"I just didn't think that his breaking ball was as good tonight as it was in St. Louis," said manager Brandon Hyde. "I thought there was a lot arm-side and up misses with his fastball. Maybe he was over-amped early. But I just didn't think his command was as good tonight as it has been.
"He's a young starter that has only had a few starts under his belt and he's facing the Yankees. I thought he had good stuff, just didn't quite command it the way he has been the last couple starts."
Gallo committed a three-base error on Cedric Mullins’ fly ball into the left field corner leading off the bottom of the first inning. Trey Mancini walked and was doubled off first base after Torres made a diving catch of Santander’s soft, broken-bat liner.
Santander hit a three-run homer off Severino earlier this season in the Bronx, and he reached the flag court tonight. His shot off Chapman in the ninth was pulled to left, making him the first Orioles player to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game since he did it on Aug. 31, 2019 in Kansas City.
Matt Wieters was the last Oriole at Camden Yards, on Oct. 2, 2016.
Per ESPN Stats and Info, Santander is the only player in major league history to lose the first six multi-homer games of his career.
The Orioles didn’t get their second hit until Rougned Odor’s leadoff single in the seventh inning against reliever Jonathan Loaisiga. Tyler Nevin, who struck out twice with Severino pitching, grounded into a double play.
Mullins flied out to end the eighth inning and a 12-pitch battle with Chad Green, slammed his bat to the ground and broke it in half.
The frustration is building from an offense held to two runs and three hits after scoring only three times with 10 hits in Detroit.
The Orioles have scored five runs in their last four games, on solo home runs by Santander and Mancini.
"I thought we faced another really good starter in Severino," Hyde said. "I thought he was on tonight. Throwing mid-to-high 90s with slider, cutter, changeup. That's pretty good. ... Tough assignment. We've got mostly right-handers in the lineup. That's not easy to do against Sevie. We've got to get more hits."