The Orioles couldn’t carry pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. as a Rule 5 selection. Tonight, they couldn’t break through against him until the sixth inning.
Trey Mancini’s first home run since Aug. 14 sent Cortes to the bench with two outs and sliced the deficit in half.
Jorge Mateo was a three-time Top 100 prospect who began his professional career with the Yankees, finally made it to the Bronx tonight and hit a game-tying homer in the seventh.
The redemption angle held up through regulation.
Four scoreless innings from the Orioles bullpen, with just one hit allowed, carried the game into extra innings. After both teams scored in the 10th, Ramón Urías singled off Clay Holmes to put runners on the corners with no outs in the 11th, but the tie remained intact, and Giancarlo Stanton singled to center field off Dillon Tate to score Aaron Judge and give the Yankees a 4-3 win.
The Orioles are 41-92 overall, 5-9 versus the Yankees and 2-5 in New York.
“I thought it was just a really good baseball game and we lost on the road in extra innings on a ground ball single,” said manager Brandon Hyde.
“For me, it was just a good baseball game. It’s tough to win on the road in extra innings and we didn’t score there in the top of the 11th inning, which opened the door for us, and a ground ball single beat us. But I was really encouraged by the guys out of the ‘pen. I thought we pitched extremely well tonight against a really good team.”
Ryan Mountcastle singled off Wandy Peralta to score automatic runner Ryan McKenna in the 10th inning, his 75th RBI, but Tyler Wade raced home on DJ LeMahieu’s one-out single off Cole Sulser. A wild pitch put the winning run on third base, Joey Gallo popped up, Tate entered and Judge bounced out.
Mancini held at third base on the 11th-inning single and tagged but retreated on a fly ball to Stanton in medium right.
“I thought it was really good baserunning on the single,” Hyde said. “It’s tough, also, there with a really shallow fly ball (to Stanton). So, we just didn’t get the ball deep enough for him to score.”
“With the short porch here I didn’t want to take any chances,” Mancini said. “Having first and third with no outs there is much better than getting thrown out with no outs at home.”
Mateo reached the left field seats against reliever Jonathan Loaisiga with one out in the seventh for a 2-2 tie, his second home run since the Orioles claimed him off waivers from the Padres. Also, his 26th hit in 23 games with his new team.
Stanton supplied the game’s first run with a two-out solo homer in the fourth inning, also the first hit surrendered by John Means. Stanton drove a changeup to center field and admired its flight.
Means has surrendered 24 homers this season, 17 of them with the bases empty. They’ve accounted for 33 of his 50 runs allowed.
“I honestly didn’t even know he got out of the box slow, I just was surprised he hit it that far,” Means said. “To be honest with you, I thought it was a pretty good pitch.”
Anthony Rizzo was stranded in the fourth after a double, but Rougned Odor walked with one out in the fifth, Gary Sánchez singled and LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
Means couldn’t produce a third consecutive quality start, lasting five innings and charged with two runs and three hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
“I didn’t think he had his best fastball tonight,” Hyde said, “but I thought he pitched extremely well.”
Gallo walked with one out in the first and Means struck out Judge and Stanton on a 90 mph fastball and 80.7 mph curve, respectively.
Means retired 10 in a row after the walk, his streak snapped by Stanton.
His 93rd pitch of the night was a changeup to strike out Gallo and end the fifth.
“I thought I grinded it out,” Means said. “I thought I was behind in the count a little too much and the two walks to the lefties, I wish didn’t happen. But other than that I thought my stuff was decent.”
Cortes was one of three Rule 5 picks by the Orioles at the 2017 Winter Meetings. He lasted four games, allowing four runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, walking four batters and serving up two home runs.
The Cuban left-hander wasn’t ready and the Orioles also were stashing Pedro Araujo in their bullpen. Some of the same people who were totally on board with taking Cortes and praised him in spring training saw him as overmatched and lost whatever confidence remained after the Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson hit a grand slam off him in an April 9 game.
Jose Mesa Jr. was the third pitcher selected in the draft but the Orioles returned him to the Yankees and he never made it to the majors. The Marlins signed him to a minor league deal in November.
The Yankees traded Cortes to the Mariners in November 2019 for future considerations and signed him as a free agent in January 2021 after he allowed 13 earned runs and 14 total with 12 hits, six walks and six homers in 7 2/3 innings with Seattle.
The Orioles were facing their fourth consecutive left-handed starter and Jordan Montgomery is waiting for them Saturday afternoon.
Mancini led off the second inning with a single and was stranded. Austin Wynns singled with one out in the third and was stranded. Urías walked and Anthony Santander singled with two outs in the fourth, and both were stranded.
Mountcastle drew a leadoff walk in the sixth, Austin Hays grounded into a double play and Mancini hit his 21st homer, the ball landing in the second deck at 416 feet with an exit velocity of 111 mph, per Statcast.
“I’m not putting any stock in if he’s going to finish strong or not,” Hyde said. “He’s been hard on himself lately and scuffled a little bit as of late and it’s nice to see him really stay behind one and drive one like he did. Hopefully that makes him feel good and he continues to swing the bat like that. He’s going to have ups and down and he’s just extremely tough on himself, so yeah, it was a really good swing and hopefully it continues.”
Said Mancini: “I think it’s no secret this year has been, I hate to use the word ‘grind,’ but it has every single day. From a mental standpoint, just kind of living with what I have to live with. I know it’s the reality and I don’t want to get too into it. I’ll talk about it more at the end of the season, but it’s tough. But at the same time, whenever the game starts you’ve got to get all that out of your mind and go out there and play your best and try to clear your mind. But it’s definitely been a challenge a lot, but I’m really trying to finish strong.
“Basically, anytime I can I just try to take a really deep breath, anytime I consciously remember I try to do breathing routines throughout the game, so it’s really helped. I’ve made a lot of strides in that regard this year. But in the moment whenever you’re trying to clear your mind, that’s the best you can do is just, like, really focusing on your breathing.”
Mancini said his struggles in August started “as a mental thing, but there are physical things that show up and I try not to think about the physical things too much because normally it starts up here, but I have noticed a lot of things going on in my swing that I haven’t particularly liked. But at the same time you can’t go out there during the game and try to fix it when you’re facing who we face on a nightly basis, so it takes a while to show up.
“I feel like in the last week or so I’ve had certain nights, especially tonight, where I’ve felt better and you kind of look for things to feel good about, especially when you haven’t really felt your best, by and large, most of the year.”
Hays doubled off Chad Green with two outs in the eighth and Mancini received an intentional walk, but Urías struck out.
Some tough moments for Urías, who also dropped a foul popup and committed another error in the eighth after moving to shortstop.
Mateo walked against Aroldis Chapman with one out in the ninth, never tried to steal second base and was stranded.
Mancini lined into a double play in the 10th after Hays walked.
Wells retired all five batters he faced with three strikeouts in his longest outing since working two innings on July 11. His 34 pitches were six fewer.
Notes: Dean Kremer is getting closer to a promotion, starting tonight at Triple-A Norfolk and tossing five scoreless innings with two hits, no walks and five strikeouts. Pat Valaika hit his first home run. Adley Rutschman singled, had a 10-pitch sacrifice fly and doubled. Robert Neustrom drove in a run with a single.
Double-A Bowie’s Grayson Rodriguez allowed only one hit in five scoreless innings, with three walks and seven strikeouts, to lower his ERA to 2.76. Kyle Stowers and Jordan Westburg hit two-run homers in the first inning. Stowers had three hits and four RBIs. Westburg also tripled.