The Orioles know how to take a lead. It’s holding a lead - and that’s really the most important part of the game - that tends to challenge them.
They can raise blood pressure like a salt-based diet.
Kevin Gausman lasted only 5 1/3 innings tonight, throwing 106 pitches before manager Buck Showalter turned to his bullpen, but the Orioles navigated through the tense moments and never trailed in a 10-4 victory over the Yankees before an announced crowd of 22,983 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles worked over Masahiro Tanaka for four runs in the third inning, grabbed a 7-1 lead and flexed some muscle late to win for only the fifth time in the last 19 games. They took the series, improved to 27-24 and moved within 3 1/2 games of first place in the American League East.
Chris Davis’ two-run homer off Giovanny Gallegos in the bottom of the seventh extended the lead to 9-3 after Mychal Givens brought a sense of calm by retiring all five batters he faced - stranding two runners along the way. Darren O’Day allowed a run in the eighth after back-to-back singles to begin the inning and Mike Wright struck out two in the ninth.
Adam Jones returned to the lineup after a four-game absence and had an RBI double, three-run homer and run-scoring infield hit. Guess it was wise to keep him off the wet field last night.
Jones’ infield single in the eighth inning also gave him 1,500 hits with the Orioles.
Seth Smith was 2-for-26 with nine strikeouts in his last eight games, but he had a leadoff single in the first and singled again in the third to juice the rally. Jones followed with his double, Mark Trumbo lined a ball over Aaron Judge’s head in right field to score two more and Davis delivered an RBI single.
Judge froze on Manny Machado’s ball and made a futile attempt at the end. It wasn’t pretty, but he’s paid mainly to destroy them. Catching them is a bonus.
Smith added an infield single in the eighth for his first three-hit game since going 4-for-4 on May 4.
J.J. Hardy doubled with two outs in the fourth inning, Smith walked and Jones jumped on the next pitch - he’s been known to swing at the first one - and gave the Orioles a 7-1 lead.
Hardy singled in the third inning and produced his fourth two-hit game in his last eight starts.
Trumbo’s second double of the night was followed by Davis’ 210th home run as an Oriole to give him sole possession of seventh place on the all-time list. He was tied with Brady Anderson.
Machado remained on the curb during the hit parade, going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts to lower his average to .205.
Gausman allowed three runs (two earned) and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, with five walks and four strikeouts. He’s struggled this season with sizeable margins in his favor and Showalter brought in Givens with two on and one out in the sixth. Givens got a called third strike and a fly ball to preserve a 7-3 lead and retired the side in order in the seventh.
Judge scored an unearned run in the fourth on Jonathan Schoop’s throwing error while attempting to complete a double play, and the Yankees got within 7-3 in the fifth after Aaron Hicks delivered an RBI double and scored on Matt Holliday’s bloop single into center field.
Gausman left the bases loaded in the first inning and didn’t allow a run despite four of the first five Yankees reaching on a pair of singles and walks. He retired eight in a row, but fell short of a third consecutive quality start.
Givens warmed in the fifth as the Yankees forced Gausman to throw 25 pitches. Gausman threw 22 in the first and fourth innings. He wasn’t going to get real deep in this game.
Chase Headley walked to load the bases with two outs in the fifth, but Ronald Torreyes grounded into a force to get Gausman back in the dugout without handing the ball to his manager. That happened in the next inning.
Big leads just haven’t been safe with the Orioles over the first two months of the season. You know there’s going to be drama and tension.
Tonight ended with a much-needed win as the Red Sox come to town for a four-game series.
Update: The Orioles have won 11 straight home series against the Yankees, going 24-9.
Jones’ five RBIs tied a career high.
Showalter on satisfaction of winning series: “If you look at it that way, which I will. Half full, half empty. It’s a good team playing well with good pitching, not many holes right now. It’s a tough row and our guys found a way tonight.”
Showalter on Jones’ return sparking team: “Adam is a big part of our team. That’s obvious. But we’ve had some stretches without people like all clubs do. Our guys have found a way. But it’s a lot easier with him there. You could tell he was pretty fresh.”
More Showalter on Jones: “Adam is always on. The way he approaches competition, he doesn’t have a day like, ‘What’s wrong with Adam today?’ You don’t have to worry about the mood. He’s got things in life that affect you emotionally and mentally, but when they get through playing that song (anthem), he’s always firing.
“Some of the challenges for him, I’d much rather he be challenged by holding back here and there as opposed to push people forward. That’s not a lot of fun for teammates and coaches and managers.”
Showalter on Davis’ approach tonight: “A couple of them he hit balls where they were shifted to, but just in between the seam. A step here or there. We know what Chris is capable of. I’d like to say, yes, this means that and this means this, but we’re going to see four real good pitchers in the next four days.
“I thought Chris contributed defensively as much as he did offensively. He’s been consistent with that through thick and thin.”
Showalter on Gausman: “When he gets that fastball where he wants to, down and away. I thought he didn’t break. Sometimes, with that lead, you can get some anxiety and try to rush through it. Getting through that fifth inning, he made a couple big pitches. But they’re so good offensively that you never feel that you can put it in cruise control.”
Showalter on Givens: “Mike probably had the biggest innings other than Gaus starting. That was a good consistent outing for Mike. We needed that tonight. Try to keep our feet on the ground for the next series physically with our pitching.
“Mike Wright was impressive, came in and threw the ball well. (We’ll) talk and see if he’s still going to be available tomorrow in long relief, because Ubaldo (Jiménez) is still not available.”
Jones on how it felt to be back: “It felt fine. It felt good. I think it was good that we got the series win. We haven’t been playing as well of late. The last three weeks haven’t been too fun. But it was a good series win. Glad I was able to come back out there, add some more energy, and the guys followed suit. So, good series win.”
Jones on getting offense from multiple sources: “Great. I mean I think just, sometimes, I do inject some energy in the guys just the way I play and the style. Been out some days, but came back and the guys just fed off the energy. Obviously, we feed off the energy of the starting pitcher, and Gausman went out there and worked his tail off. I know he wanted to go out there and go longer, but we appreciate his efforts, and he kept us in the game, and we were able to go out there and put some runs up against Tanaka.”
Jones on 11 straight home series wins versus Yankees: “We’ve gotten better as a franchise over the last four years. We’ve gotten better against them the last four years and we’ve been a pretty good team over the last five years. Sixth this year.”
Jones on whether scoring all but one run with two outs showed offense clicking: “Big time. I was put in a situation by Seth Smith. He got a single and then he got a walk to allow me to come up with men in scoring position. So you eliminate those, I’m not coming up in that situation. So thank Seth Smith for giving me an opportunity three times, actually.
“The last inning also, he battled and battled and battled with two outs to get me another at-bat. So it’s just feeding off of the guy in front of you. He had some great at-bats. It was just, like I said, fun having guys on base. That’s where you’re making money.”
Jones on the division: “We play these guys 19 times, we play everybody in our division 19 times, I think. First off, we get up for every game, but our division is important and our division is tough, so it’s always good to have good games against them.”
Jones on whether missing four games freshened him up: “I believe it does. A rest here and there is good.”
Gausman on how he threw: “Good. I had a good feel for all my pitches for strikes and for chase. Too many two-strike hits. Fastballs I was trying to go up and just left them down. They put some good swings together and laid off some really tough pitches, so they definitely gave me a handful.”
Gausman on getting out of tough jams: “Obviously, they’re swinging the bats really well, especially after yesterday. I felt like they were hacking yesterday and so that was one thing I was just trying to do was make quality pitches, and kind of put myself in some tough situations and had to pitch out of it. But luckily I did, and my defense made some great plays for me, also. So anytime you have those guys fielding the ball the way that they have, really ever since I’ve been here, it gives you the confidence to kind of go after guys.”
Gausman on whether he struggles out of the stretch: “I felt like tonight I got a lot of groundball double plays. But we just kind of didn’t (turn them), whether the guy was running too fast or the ball was too slow. I got the ground balls, when there was a guy on first base a good bit tonight. And that’s really all you look at. “
Gausman on satisfaction of winning series: “Yeah, absolutely. Especially we’ve got Boston coming in and they’re playing really well right now, too. Some obviously important games this week. Always good to beat the Yankees at home, that’s for sure.”