NEW YORK - Orioles manager Buck Showalter said no one is smart enough to have a complete read on a pitcher in only one season. He won’t pronounce the book on David Hess complete after 18 starts and 20 appearances.
Hess has dazzled and disappointed. He’s been a rookie surviving on location and mixing his pitches. He could be a starter, reliever, Triple-A depth or all of the above.
No one knows whether DJ Stewart will have a long and productive career after only nine games. He, too, will get more chances to impress while the Orioles figure out exactly what they have in him. Starting outfielder, extra outfielder, Triple-A depth or none of the above.
Hess shut out the Yankees in four of his five innings today, two solo home runs in the second putting him in an early hole that didn’t bury him. Stewart delivered a game-tying single off Lance Lynn with two outs in the fifth and led off the 10th with a double while reaching base three times.
The future can brighten for the Orioles and the present can bring more dark clouds.
Aaron Hicks doubled off Paul Fry in the bottom of the 11th to score Didi Gregorius and give the Yankees a 3-2 win over the Orioles and a spot in the wild card game.
Gregorius led off with a single, Giancarlo Stanton struck out and Hicks lined a slider into the left field corner after fouling a ball off his foot and needing assistance from the athletic trainer.
The Orioles had runners on base in each of the last three innings without scoring and suffered their 110th loss.
Stewart advanced to third base in the 10th on Jonathan Villar’s infield hit. Villar stole second with no outs, the Orioles loaded the bases with one out and the game remained tied after Chris Davis lined to first and Breyvic Valera popped up a 2-0 pitch.
Swinging on 2-0 with Jonathan Holder struggling to find the plate. Not my first choice, but I’m only writing the game story.
John Andreoli ran for Stewart at third base. I would have left in Stewart, who’s hardly a slug on the base paths and who would have batted with two outs in the 11th after Cedric Mullins singled, but again, I’m just handling the copy. Andreoli struck out looking.
Miguel Castro, still trying to become established, tossed two scoreless innings. Tanner Scott, with the club wondering whether he could close in the future, retired the side in order in the eighth and Mychal Givens retired all six batters he faced, striking out Aaron Judge to carry the game to the 11th.
That’s where it ended.
Stewart’s single in the fifth scored Caleb Joseph, as five straight Orioles reached base with one out. They settled for one run.
Aaron Hicks led off the bottom of the second inning by driving an 82 mph slider into the right field seats and Luke Voit demolished a 92 mph fastball with one out, the estimated distance 430 feet.
No one was on base for Voit because Adam Jones threw out Miguel Andújar trying to stretch a single into a double, the veteran’s 100th career outfield assist.
Walks in the first and third didn’t hurt Hess and he stranded Andújar in the fourth after a one-out double. Andrew McCutchen and Judge walked with one out in the fifth and Hess got out of another jam by retiring Gregorius on a fly ball and striking out Giancarlo Stanton.
The four walks tied Hess’ career high. He allowed two runs and four hits, struck out five and threw 93 pitches, including 23 in the first.
The math says Hess is in line to make one more start, his turn coming up Thursday night against the Astros at Camden Yards.
The Orioles took advantage of catcher Gary Sánchez’s passed ball and throwing error - further enduring him to Yankees fans - to score a run in the third and reduce the lead to 2-1.
Valera and Steve Wilkerson singled and Valera advanced on the passed ball. Mullins reached with one out on a tapper in front of the plate, credited with an RBI while Sánchez’s throw sailed past Voit.
Third base coach Bobby Dickerson waved home Wilkerson, who was out at the plate.
Wilkerson doubled in the fifth and again was thrown out trying to score on Joseph’s single to right field. Sánchez actually made a nice play, blocking the plate with his foot and applying the tag.
Mullins and Stewart singled, Joseph scored and the game was tied.
Villar walked to load the bases, but Jones grounded into a force at third base.
Gleyber Torres reached third base with one out in the seventh against Castro after a double and passed ball - we have a plethora of them in this series - but Wilkerson fielded McCutchen’s ground ball and threw home for the out.
Zach Britton stranded pinch-runner Jace Peterson at second base in the top of the ninth.
Davis went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and is 1-for-39 with 20 strikeouts.
Showalter on whether not scoring in 10th was the biggest moment: “No, it’s a lot more than that. Everybody wants to focus on one thing like that. Hit the ball hard. Adam hit a ground ball right at somebody. There’s a lot more to it than that. A lot of positive things.
“Stewart had another good game. I thought Wilkerson played as good as you can at third base. He made some plays that kept them from scoring that we haven’t been making. I wanted to see him go back out there and have that type of defensive game. It tells you a little something about him. Pitched real well out of the bullpen. Hess gave up a couple of solo home runs, and that was about it. He battled tooth and nail, got a big out to come out of there with a competitive outing.
“So everybody wants to dwell on one phase and there’s a lot of parts in scoring runs. You can set them up, but you’ve got to finish the deal. Chris hit two balls right on the button today with people standing there. Voit made a nice play.”
Showalter on removing Hess after fifth: “He threw (93) pitches in five innings, something like that. The tougher decision was letting him pitch the fifth inning. Roger (McDowell) and I went over all the innings and things again today. Looking at all the innings and all the stress stuff, where we are and not knowing what we’re going to be able to do with Alex (Cobb) tomorrow and the inexperience of our pitchers, we’ve got to continue to make sure we’ve got the what-ifs covered. That’s why the extra-inning game tonight was a challenge for us.
“I felt all the guys out of the bullpen ... it’s good to see Tanner finishing strong, too. Castro had a real good outing. Fry had a real good outing, too. He struck out Hicks before the base hit. That was obviously strike three.”
Hess on outing: “I felt OK. I think that it definitely wasn’t my best stuff. My command was a little spotty at times. Those guys, they fouled off some pitches, kind of worked the count to get deep. They definitely made me throw more pitches than I wanted to.”
Hess on how feeling and rate season: “Overall, I think we’ve improved. You look at where we started when I first came up to where I am now, I think the past month or two, there’s been a lot of improvements and I think that shows with the numbers. But more than anything I think just the overall feel and the comfort that I’ve grown into more out there, I think that reflects and going forward we want to continue to grow in that and be as competitive as possible.”
Stewart on his day: “It’s very satisfying anytime you can go up and have productive at-bats and try to give your team an opportunity to win a game. That’s what you’re in the lineup for, to produce and give your team a chance and that’s what I’m trying to do every day.”
Stewart on what it’s like as young guy in game like this: “It’s a good experience for us. They’re trying to get in the playoffs and just to face a lineup like that and see how they’re fighting every single out and so are we. We’re not in the playoff hunt, but it gives us a little bit of experience of what the atmosphere is like. Everyone is against you. We’re at their place, and just kind of give you a feel of what you can expect when we do get this thing turned around, how we can expect to play in these games.”
Stewart on not scoring in top of 10th: “It’s very tough. We’re in the situation right there to put pressure on them and score a run and give ourselves an opportunity to win the game. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it, but we still battled and hung in there for every out.”