The Orioles had to believe that today would be different. They rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to tie the game, the last three coming on Renato Núñez’s homer, the ball jumping off a resuscitated bat. Gleyber Torres and Gary Sánchez came off the bench in the ninth and settled for a walk and single, respectively.
That’s tame stuff.
But that’s how the Orioles began to drift toward another loss and a four-game sweep.
Mychal Givens also walked DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks to force in the go-ahead run and Zack Britton closed out the Yankees’ 6-5 win over the Orioles before an announced crowd of 30,624.
The Orioles have lost six in a row, 13 of 15 and are 15-35 on the season as they board a flight to Colorado. The Yankees have won 12 straight at Camden Yards since July 2018.
Hicks ran the count to 3-0, took a strike, fouled off a pitch and laid off one that didn’t come close.
Givens thought he fanned Torres on a 2-2 pitch, which would have allowed him to strike out the side. Plate umpire Jim Reynolds didn’t give him the call, Torres walked and Sánchez punched a single into right field.
Núñez has three home runs in his last four games, the latest against reliever Tommy Kahnle with two outs in the eighth following Trey Mancini’s RBI single that cut the lead to 5-2.
Jonathan Holder walked Jonathan Villar and Stevie Wilkerson before Mancini’s single. Kahnle replaced him and retired Dwight Smith Jr. on a fly ball, but Núñez drove a changeup 419 feet to left-center field per Statcast.
One start after throwing a season-high 118 pitches in 5 2/3 innings, Dylan Bundy carried a count of 55 into the fifth this afternoon.
Improvement isn’t dictated only by the radar gun.
Trouble wouldn’t arrive until the fifth and it was one swing and a familiar result for the Orioles, with Clint Frazier’s two-out solo home run tying the game.
It stuck around in the sixth and Bundy didn’t make it out of the inning. A promising start wouldn’t end as a “quality.”
Gio Urshela’s two-out single broke a 1-1 tie and the Orioles didn’t appear to have the offensive punch to counter until Núñez’s home run.
Bundy had been charged only with an unearned run in his previous start in Cleveland and was in the process of whittling down his ERA today before Urshela’s single bumped it modestly from 4.66 to 4.67. Paul Fry struck out Brett Gardner to strand two runners.
The Yankees put two runners in scoring position with two outs in the sixth and Bundy, going through the order a third time, received a visit from pitching coach Doug Brocail as the bullpen stayed quiet. He walked Kendrys Morales on four pitches, Fry and Miguel Castro began to warm, and Urshela lined a slider into left field on a 2-2 count to give New York the lead.
Austin Romine’s RBI single off Fry with one out in the seventh increased the lead to 4-1 and brought Castro into the game. Castro served up Luke Voit’s solo shot in the eighth, giving the Yankees 36 home runs against the Orioles this season.
The Yankees have hit 27 home runs in seven games at Camden Yards, the most by a team in a seven-game span in any ballpark, home or away, according to STATS.
The Orioles loaded the bases against Masahiro Tanaka with no outs in the second inning and settled for one run after Richie Martin beat the relay throw on a potential double play. Tanaka was shaken up after being hit Rio Ruiz’s comebacker, the exit velocity at 102 mph per Statcast, but he stayed in the game and held the Orioles to one run in six innings.
Smith tripled to center field with two outs in the third - Aaron Hicks’ pursued the ball as if hiding a whole pig in his jersey - Núñez struck out. Austin Wynns’ two-out single in the fourth also was wasted and Tanaka retired the last seven batters.
Pedro Severino’s pinch-hit single in the ninth was followed by Villar’s double play bouncer.
Frazier’s home run was only the third hit off Bundy as he neared the sixth inning. LeMahieu walked with one out in the sixth, Hicks struck out and Voit doubled. The Morales walk led to Urshela’s clutch at-bat.
Núñez knows clutch, too. He just hadn’t been able to find it for a while.
The Orioles know heartbreak. They can’t seem to avoid it.
Update: The Orioles optioned outfielder Joey Rickard to Triple-A Norfolk after the game.
The move creates a spot for outfielder Keon Broxton on the 25-man roster.
Manager Brandon Hyde on choosing to focus on comeback: “Happy with how we came back against a good club. Noonie with a big hit. I thought Bundy was outstanding. Really threw the ball well. That’s back-to-back starts with him having really good stuff. The slider just got too much of the plate on the hit by Urshela, but I just thought he was outstanding.”
Hyde on what was happening with Givens: “I’m not real sure, I haven’t talked to him. He got two quick outs. I think the 2-2 pitch to Torres was borderline that he didn’t get, and a flare from Gary.”
Hyde on coming back against a good bullpen: “That’s an excellent, excellent bullpen and I’m happy with how we came back. I talked about this before, we’re developing in a lot of ways and we’re giving guys a lot of opportunities. We’re in a mode right now of let’s see what we have and the next thing is developing to win and winning close games.
“If you look at our last six games against the Yankees, which we’ve lost all six, the two in New York they had their setup guy and closer in the game, both games. Three of the four games here, Chappy (Aroldis Chapman) pitched two of their wins and Britton today. So of the six games we’re in five of them and we’re a hit or a shutdown inning away from winning some of those games. And we’re just not there yet.”
Hyde on what he takes from this week: “That’s what I’m focusing on. Our job is to get these guys better. I’m focusing on Dylan Bundy having some starts he didn’t like early to now back-to-back really good starts against two really good lineups. And I take a lot from that, that pumps me up.
“Richie Martin’s ABs the last couple days. Facing Tanaka, one of the elite pitchers in the American League, and he drills a ball in his first at-bat up the middle right at LeMahieu and then off Holder he hits a line drive that Hicks made a nice play against the wall in center field. So you see some positives out of it. Obviously, the competitive part of me, these are tough, these are hard. It’s not easy to go home at the end of the day. But you just try to find the positives and we are doing some good things. We’re just playing really good clubs and we’re just a little short.”
Hyde on Bundy using more secondary stuff: “Yeah, but I think you can also see how much late they are on his heater because of his mix. His changeup’s really good. He had a good slider today for the most part. Dumped some curveballs in and had a really good changeup. And throws them for strikes. And that heater plays higher because of it and I think that’s what you’re seeing the last couple of starts.”
Givens on what went wrong: “What went wrong? We got the loss, that’s what went wrong. I didn’t get the job done.”
Givens on what happened after two strikeouts: “I think I made good pitches and they’re good hitters. I walked Gleyber on a good pitch and Sánchez got a bloop single. It just didn’t go my way.”
Givens on whether he thought he struck out Torres: “The umpire felt it was a ball, so it was a ball.”
Bundy on start: “Pretty good up until the sixth inning. Tried to bury a slider and left it up and (Urshela) was able to get two runs in, but felt good. Same thing as last outing with all my pitches.”