Sunday, June 5, 2016

Recap: Yankees 8, Orioles 6

Ugly wins are still wins.

At least that's what the Yankees will tell themselves Saturday night, having done everything in their power to blow a big lead for the third straight game.

Up 7-0 on the Orioles, the Yankees were cruising through six and a half innings, but that was about the same time their pitching decided home runs were fun to give up. Indeed, the Orioles went deep three times in the seventh to pull to within a run, before the Yanks ultimately held on for an 8-6 victory.

Things began swimmingly for the Yankees against the Orioles' Tyler Wilson. New York's struggling offense, which has experienced a renaissance this week, tagged the right-hander for five earned runs over four innings, including a four-spot in the fourth.

Starlin Castro and Rob Refsnyder each logged an RBI double. Austin Romine plated two more with a single and a sac fly. Didi Gregorius got another man in with a grounder to second.

And following Wilson's early removal, the Yankees kept pouring it on. Castro drove in his second run of the evening with a single off Dylan Bundy, and Jacoby Ellsbury seemingly put the nail in the coffin with a steal of home in the sixth.

But the blowout wasn't real.

Mark Trumbo kicked off Baltimore's unexpected post-stretch rally with a solo blast off Ivan Nova, Pedro Alvarez lined a two-run shot of his own two batters later and after Nova's exit, Adam Jones crushed a Nick Goody offering for a three-run bomb to left.

Just like that, Nova had been charged with five earned runs and the Yankees found themselves having to squeeze nine outs from their bullpen without the help of Dellin Betances.

Fortunately for them, Andrew Miller was up for the challenge.

Miller retired all six hitters he faced in the seventh and eighth, retaining the Yankees' advantage long enough to calm everyone down. Miller fanned two while needing just 28 pitches, perhaps keeping him available for Sunday.

Alex Rodriguez provided some insurance with a run-scoring single in the ninth, and with a solid cushion to work with, Aroldis Chapman was able to complete the save. 

It could've been a lot smoother, but ugly wins are still wins. 

WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees improve to 26-29 on the season, five games behind the Mariners for the second wild-card spot.

NEXT UP: The Yankees look to take this series in Sunday's finale. CC Sabathia (3-4, 2.85 ERA) and Kevin Gausman (0-3, 3.78 ERA) are slated to be your starters, with first pitch set for 1:35 p.m. ET.

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