The walk to the dugout was done slowly, as if Dean Kremer wanted to stay on the mound tonight and try to figure out how to hush a Yankees lineup that kept reaching the highest decibels. He didn’t want to be silenced.
Until then, the only quiet moments came with the Orioles at the plate. They didn’t have a hit off Domingo Germán until two outs in the fifth inning.
Ryan Mountcastle beat out a chopper behind third base, perhaps a sign that his luck is changing after he flied to the warning track again in his first at-bat. Kremer couldn’t reverse the punishment from the Yankees in his return to the rotation, charged with six runs and 10 hits in a 7-0 loss before an announced crowd of 7,338 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles were held to four hits, including a pair from Trey Mancini, and fell to 10-14 overall and 3-10 at home with one game remaining before their West Coast trip. They’ve been shut out four times.
Clint Frazier homered off Tyler Wells with the bases empty and two outs in the eighth. The Rule 5 pick retired six of his seven batters.
Mike Ford and Gio Urshela homered off Kremer, who came back from the alternate training site and watched his ERA rise to 8.40. The 10 hits are a career high in eight major league starts.
“Probably didn’t get ahead as much as I should have,” Kremer said viz Zoom, “and every time I came into the zone down in the count, they capitalized.”
His night ended after Urshela singled through a vacated spot on the left side, adding to Kremer’s frustration. Giancarlo Stanton led off with an infield hit, beating the throw from shortstop Pat Valaika. Two balls that weren’t scalded and didn’t produce outs.
“I just thought his command wasn’t real god tonight,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I thought he had good stuff. Fastball was in the mid-90s, cutter again was 90-91 (mph). He didn’t start landing some curveballs until really the second time through the order. They were sitting on hard fastball or cutter really the majority of the night because he had a tough time landing his curveball. You’ve got to be able to change speeds against these guys and move the ball around the zone. Fastball command was erratic and without a breaking ball that you can land consistently, it’s going to be very difficult. They squared a lot of balls up. I give him credit for competing and getting into the fifth inning.
“It’s about command with Dean. It’s nothing about stuff. It’s pitch selection and command. Being able to throw your four-seamer to different parts of the zone. A lot of times, it was ball out of hand early with the breaking ball and fastball. He’s just got to be in the zone more.”
Shawn Armstrong issued a walk to load the bases and Aaron Hicks lifted a sacrifice fly to right field. Armstrong tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Ford hit an opposite-field home run on the first pitch of the second inning, a 344-foot fly ball that also didn’t make the usual loud sound from a Yankees bat. Like the one from Stanton on a blazing grounder in the first - 119.4 mph exit velocity - that Maikel Franco slid to his left to glove and start a double play.
Kremer struck out the last two batters in the second. His pitch count had grown to 38 despite the earlier double play, which was followed by Gleyber Torres’ double and a wild pitch.
DJ LeMahieu led off the third with a line drive that almost gave Kremer a haircut. Stanton followed with another laser, this one 113.8 mph, and Valaika couldn’t make a clean backhanded stop. Loud noises again.
Urshela, who struck out to end the first, lined a three-run homer into the left field seats for a 5-0 lead. At 109.8 mph, he’d have to settle for the bronze.
It just wouldn’t stop. Frazier led off the fourth with a screaming line drive into left-center field for a double, but Valaika fielded Kyle Higashioka’s bouncer and threw to third for the easy out. Frazier didn’t bother to slide.
The Yankees led the majors last night with 12 runners thrown out on the bases. Make it 13.
Asked about his month and moving forward, Kremer said, “I mean, there’s only up, I guess.”
“It’s going to be an adjustment period here this year. I understand that,” he said. “It’s just kind of hammering out the things I need to do and try to figure out what makes me good. Pitching in the big leagues is pitching in the big leagues. It’s hard to get here and it’s harder to stay. It’s always going to be an adjustment period, even for guys who have been here for a while. There’s going to be ups and downs.”
Germán is 5-0 with a 2.41 ERA lifetime against the Orioles, whose only baserunner until Mountcastle’s hit came on DJ Stewart’s one-out walk in the second. He retired 14 of 15 and 18 of 20 before Mancini’s leadoff single in the seventh.
Pedro Severino singled with two outs, but Mountcastle took a called third strike.
Michael King replaced Germán in the eighth.
“He was throwing all pitches for strikes, keeping the ball down in the zone against us, elevating when he wanted to,” Hyde said. “You saw a lot of changeup swings we were out in front. ... We had a tough time tonight with Germán and rightfully so. He had good stuff tonight.”
Hyde also saw the growing pains with Kremer and Bruce Zimmermann in this series that are bound to strike
“That’s part of being in the major leagues as a young player,” Hyde said. “You’re seeing that with our hitters the last couple years. It’s not an easy league and they’re facing good lineups. They’re going to have some tough days and they’re going to have some good days.”
Tanner Scott allowed a hit in a scoreless ninth inning after walking the bases loaded in the last two appearances.