On the night, the Orioles had just four hits. They went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They struck out 17 times. Their starting pitcher didn’t get through five innings. They lost one-run leads in the eighth and 10th innings.
But they won the game.
It is not often we could see all that happen for the Orioles during a close game in the Bronx, yet they pull out a win.
They beat New York 4-3 in 11 innings and begin play today alone atop the American League East at 4-2.
In time, we will see if this has any lasting positive effect for a young O’s team. But it should have the fans that enter Camden Yards today in a great frame of mind for the home opener.
Right fielder Anthony Santander’s great throw on the line to home plate to catcher Pedro Severino produced a dramatic ending to the three-hour, 54-minute game. The game wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was not lacking in drama or in O’s heroes.
Some very unlikely heroes.
Like catcher Chance Sisco, who was 1-for-8 with six strikeouts, but then delivered with a pinch-hit single to drive in the fourth run in the 11th. Like struggling lefty Paul Fry, who put up that zero in the last of the 11th.
Like power lefty Tanner Scott who struck out Brett Gardner with a 100 mph fastball, then an inning later fanned Giancarlo Stanton swinging at three straight sliders. That was dominant stuff from Scott, who got swings and misses on eight of 11 pitches the Yankees swung at including seven of his eight sliders. Just dominant.
The bullpen as a whole was solid, allowing just one earned run over 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts.
After O’s pitchers walked 12 in the series’ first two games, they walked just two over 11 innings in Wednesday’s win. The team ERA dropped from 3.98 to 3.50, which ranks sixth-best in the AL. O’s starters are seventh at 3.90 and the bullpen ranks fifth in the league with an ERA of 3.00.
John Means battled his way through 4 2/3 innings, allowing one run, and has an ERA of 0.77 in two games. He also tied a club record first established by a Hall of Famer. Means has allowed one run or fewer in each of his last six starts, since last Sept. 8. That ties Jim Palmer for the longest streak by an Orioles starter. Palmer did that for six starts in a row from May 20 to June 10, 1978. Means is 3-1 with a 1.27 ERA and 39 strikeouts over 35 1/3 innings in those six starts.
It was the Orioles’ first win at Yankee Stadium since March 31, 2019, snapping a 12-game losing streak in the Bronx that began on May 5, 2019.
“Definitely, it feels good to beat these guys,” manager Brandon Hyde said in his postgame Zoom session. “Obviously, it’s been a while that we’ve beat them in their own place. But I thought we showed some guts today, avoiding the sweep and just going out there and playing. It was just a gritty game the whole way through. I’m really proud of our guys.”
O’s hitters fanned 17 times last night and 44 times during a series where they batted .147 (15-for-102) and scored just six runs.
The Orioles have struck out at least 13 times in each of their last four games, setting a new franchise record. It marks only the sixth time in major league history that a team has struck out at least 13 times in four straight games. Previously, it happened to Texas in 2019, Toronto in 2019, Arizona in 2017, Tampa Bay during 2015 and Houston in the 2013 season.
But despite that, the Orioles returned to Baltimore in the early morning hours of today as a first-place club. They have won four of their first six for the third time in the last five years. They also did that in 2017 and 2019.
When the Orioles host Boston today at 3:05 p.m., it will be the first game at Oriole Park with fans in attendance since Sept. 29, 2019. That was also against Boston with 557 days in between the games.
The Orioles are 44-23 in club history in home openers.
1 CM = 406 feet 🔥 pic.twitter.com/zg3UGXQ9qb-- Baltimore Orioles 😷 (@Orioles) April 7, 2021