As the Orioles played the Yankees today in the third game of this series while trying to avoid a sweep, there were a few good signs that could prove to be a positive for the club no matter today’s result.
But the Orioles did get a winning result today. They beat New York 10-6 and improved to 17-23 at the 40-game mark. They snapped a four-game losing streak.
For one, the Orioles made an adjustment in their hitting approach, it sure appeared, versus Yankees lefty Jordan Montgomery. This was his third start against them in the season’s first 40 games. And in the first two, he went 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA, allowing 10 hits in 11 innings. He took the mound today with a 3-1 career mark and 2.63 ERA against the O’s in nine games.
But they got to him using an opposite-field approach. Several right-handed batters waited on Montgomery and drove balls into right and right-center - often with very good results.
Down 4-0 before they even came to bat, the Orioles scored two runs on three hits in the last of the first to build some momentum for the day. Ryan Mountcastle went to right-center for an RBI double and so did Pedro Severino for an RBI single.
When the O’s scored three times in the third off Montgomery, Maikel Franco drove an RBI double to the opposite field. An inning later, Trey Mancini’s RBI double off right-hander Michael King was hit down the right field line. It gave the Orioles a 6-5 lead after they had trailed 4-0 after a half-inning today.
Leading 6-5, the Orioles got some nice insurance in the last of the seventh and this one was pulled. Maikel Franco, in a 4-for-51 slump at first pitch, went 3-for-4 and hit the ball hard four times. His two-run homer to left in the seventh was his first since April 25. It gave the O’s an 8-5 lead.
Nine of the Orioles’ runs today were scored with two outs and they went 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
And this was a dramatic change from the April 27 outing when Zimmermann faced this team and gave up four runs and nine hits over 3 1/3 innings. The Yankees went 9-for-19 against and hit eight balls in play at an exit velocity of 102 mph or more.
Today, Zimmermann allowed an Aaron Judge solo homer, but that was all. He gave up two hits and one run over 5 2/3 innings with one walk and six strikeouts. Yankees batters went 2-for-19 versus Zimmermann.
Zimmermann used his fastball just 37 percent of the time, using his secondary pitches 63 percent. And he had command of them nicely this afternoon, throwing his changeup 31 times and using 18 sliders among his 84 pitches.
Paul Fry pitched out a jam in the New York eighth to help preserve a win for Zimmermann, who improved to 2-3 with an ERA of 4.79.
There were other good signs today, like Mountcastle waiting on a breaking ball and serving it into center for a two-run single in the eighth. That added more insurance and Mountcastle drove in four, a career high.
The nine runs plated with two outs were a good sign as well.
The Orioles take Monday off and welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to Oriole Park on Tuesday night.