Orioles set division series record while routing Yankees 17-5 (updated)

NEW YORK – Ryan Mountcastle pulled into second base, turned to the visiting dugout and pumped his fist with such force that he could have flattened a bull.

A punch was finally thrown in the series. It landed flush.

The Orioles held their composure for three games. They got hit and took their base. Couldn’t be lured into a fight or a war of words but wouldn’t back down from the first-place team in their division in a hostile environment.

They sent 12 batters to the plate in the second inning and scored six runs to build on their early lead. The pummeling was done to Luis Gil, who began the day with the lowest ERA in the American League. No one is immune.

A 17-5 victory allowed the Orioles to move within a half-game of the Yankees. They set a major league record by going 22 division series in a row with a win or split.

Anthony Santander hit his 19th homer, a three-run shot off left-hander Tim Hill in the fifth that upped the lead to 11-3. Every Oriole reached base by the second inning except Austin Hays.

Hays got his chance in the sixth when Ron Marcinaccio nailed him with a pitch – the fourth Oriole hit in the past two days. Perhaps the Yankees consider the teams even after they were hit twice in the opener.

Cedric Mullins belted a two-run homer in the second, his first since April 26. Gil loaded the bases and Mountcastle cleared them with a double into the left-field corner. Gil loaded them again and drilled Jordan Westburg, who led off the same inning with a single in his return from a bruised left hip.

Gil was charged with a career-high seven runs and eight hits in 1 1/3 innings and lift his ERA to 2.77. He allowed one run or fewer in eight of his last nine starts before today.

Back in Baltimore, Gil shut out the Orioles on two hits in 6 1/3 innings. They hadn’t scored against him in 12 1/3.

In the Bronx, he was their speed bag.

"Going into a series facing (Nestor) Cortes, (Gerrit) Cole and Gil, you know it's going to be a tough series, and really proud of our guys, winning this series," said manager Brandon Hyde. "The way we came out and swung the bat today, that was incredible. So many hard-hit balls there early. Just really, really good at-bats."

This tends to happen to a team’s ace. The Orioles scored eight runs off the Phillies’ Zack Wheeler on Sunday, and the four homers were a career-high.  

"It's just a testament to the guys we have here and just the way we play ball," said Gunnar Henderson. "It doesn't matter what happens. It seems like we're always going to go out there and play our best ball and just try to win games."

Henderson lined Gil’s first pitch of the game to right field at 110.4 mph and Juan Soto misplayed it into a double. Henderson extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games, and he scored with two outs on Ryan O’Hearn’s single into center.

O’Hearn entered the day batting .354/.392/.563 this month. He has a hit in 10 of his last 11 games against the Yankees.

"I don't know what it is," O'Hearn said. "I see the ball really well here. As much as the short porch is hard to ignore, I try to tell myself it's not there. When the ball's in the air, whatever happens happens."

The Orioles were just warming up on his 90-degree day. They scored in eight of nine innings, and the 17 runs were their most since an 18-5 win over Cleveland on June 6, 2021. This is the third time in club history that they tallied at least 17 against New York.

They collected six hits and two walks in the second and loaded the bases again in the third against Michael Tonkin on walks to Henderson and Mountcastle sandwiched around Adley Rutschman’s double. O’Hearn lifted a sacrifice fly to center field.

"He's got great stuff and we knew that," O'Hearn said of Gil. "He got us last time at home. But I think we just had a good game plan going in, trying to make sure we got him in the zone. Low-line drives and pass it back to the next guy and not trying to hit home runs. Just trying to keep the line moving type of deal. And we have good hitters who know how to control and obviously very motivated to take the rubber match against a very good team. We're chasing them down in this division and obviously guys came in locked in ready to go today. It was really fun to be a part of."

Henderson had a ground ball in the sixth that scored Hays for a 12-5 lead. He doubled, singled, walked and doubled in his first four plate appearances - a reminder of the Orioles final visit here last summer when he homered twice and was 4-for-4 after the fourth inning.

"It's what you look forward to, these types of games, just having that many runs," Henderson said. "Toward the back half of the game, kind of take a breath. It was really fun."

Cole Irvin lasted only 4 2/3 innings and allowed five runs, but the Orioles improved to 49-25. They have one fewer loss than the Yankees (51-26).

Gleyber Torres hit a solo homer with two outs in the second and Aaron Judge marked his return to the lineup with a two-run shot with two outs in the third – 110.6 mph off the bat before the ball reached the seats in right-center field.

The Yankees scored twice in the fifth, with Judge’s RBI single finishing Irvin after 84 pitches.

"Just one of those days where I didn't feel my best," Irvin said. "Didn't feel like I had my stuff. I should have gotten deeper. I'm disappointed in myself and my effort today. Bullpen definitely could have used a little rest, and gosh, I failed them today. But offense picked me up. Great team win."

Henderson and Colton Cowser were hit last night. Cowser wasn’t in today’s lineup but could play. The crowd was more subdued when Westburg was drilled because it forced in another run. No one seemed to react to Hays getting plunked.

The only retaliation from the Orioles was to keep scoring. Hays homered into the Orioles’ bullpen in the seventh, a two-run shot off Victor González. O’Hearn stayed on his rampage with a two-run single in the eighth.

“Yeah, I’m really proud of our team,” Hyde said earlier in the day. “It was a pretty emotional game last night, a lot of things happening. I think we kept our composure really well. I think we have for the last two nights, honestly. Played to win, and for me that showed up last night. The maturity we showed, the composure and going out and getting a hard-fought win.”

Players stood at the railing with each bruising, as if ready to spring into action. They let the batter’s reaction determine their next move.

“I think it depends on who you have in the dugout,” Hyde said. “I’ve been in some rowdy dugouts, I’ve been in some more quiet dugouts. Anytime anybody gets hit, there’s always a level of attention that everybody notices, and the reaction might have something to do with that.”

"We just go out there and play our game," Henderson said. "It's just a testament to our guys. We're just gonna go play our game and try to win ballgames."

"Really proud of our guys," O'Hearn said. "Not buying into too much that comes from outside noise and things like that. Just knowing that when the game starts that's all that matters. We've got a lot of hard-nose, grinder-type players that just show up and play their (butt) off and grind their every at-bat. That was one thing I think we did a really good job of this series is kind of tune out the outside stuff and stayed locked in on what our job was, and that was come here and win a series."

The Orioles used six relievers last night but didn’t call up a fresh arm today. They discussed it.

“We talk about it every night,” Hyde said.

Bryan Baker tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings and earned his first win since July 24, 2023. Keegan Akin retired all six batters that he faced, and Nick Vespi retired the side in order in the ninth.

Jose Trevino pitched the top of the ninth for the Yankees. He’s usually a catcher. Mountcastle singled with the bases loaded to score Mullins. Rutschman walked to reach base for a fifth time.

The Orioles boarded their charter for Houston, where Grayson Rodriguez and Corbin Burnes start the first two games. The top two members of a battered rotation that didn’t need them in the Bronx.

"I don't know if we thought we had to show up and prove anything," O'Hearn said. "We know we're in a tough stretch with not many off-days playing really good teams and we knew we needed to show up and play. I believe we can play with anybody in this league, obviously, and we showed that today."

"I don't know what kind of statement we're making," Hyde said. "I know teams think we're a good team and our record shows it. And the way we've been playing against our division. How we've been playing baseball the last couple years, everybody kind of knows. So we'll just keep doing what we're doing."

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