On another beautiful day in Baltimore, the Yankees avoided the sweep by the Baltimore Orioles in route to their second victory of the season. C.C. Sabathia took the ball for New York this afternoon in attempts of stopping their recent three-game losing streak. Sabathia has had success against these Orioles, going 19–10 in his career against Baltimore but was 1–3 against them a season ago. Taking the mound for the Orioles today was left-hander Wade Miley; who has really struggled since joining the O's at last year's trade deadline, going 2-5 with a 6.17 ERA over that stretch. Today's game really depicted how walks can really hurt you as a pitcher, which was a story told on both sides all day long.
Free passes were handed out like All-Star voting ballots by both starters throughout the first couple of innings. Wade Miley walked FOUR batters during his first trip through the lineup, including walking the bases loaded in the top of the second. But, Miley got an impatient Ronald Torreyes to strike out to end the bases-loaded threat and the inning. Sabathia, on the other hand, did not fare so well. The lefty walked Mark Trumbo to begin the second, advancing to third on a soft opposite-field single by Chris Davis. The next batter rookie Trey Mancini hit a ground ball to first base where Chris Carter recorded the out at second, allowing Trumbo to score to put the Orioles up 1-0. Sabathia then issued another walk, this time to Jonathan Schoop, which moved Mancini up to second base. And that walk came back to bite C.C. as he served up a single to J.J. Hardy that scored Mancini to open the O's lead up to two.
The Orioles kept the offensive pressure on, adding to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Adam Jones started the inning by lining a single off of Sabathia's leg, advancing to second on a passed ball during Manny Machado's at bat. Trumbo then stepped up to the plate and drove Jones in with a sharp single to left, extending their lead to 3-0.
Although he walked seven batters during his start, Miley was unscored upon and was lifted to begin the top of the sixth; and that's where the Yankees finally started to get their bats going. Right-handed youngster Tyler Wilson took over for Miley and immediately got two quick outs to begin the frame. Aaron Judge started the rally with a two-out base hit to left, advancing to second when the next batter Austin Romine singled to center. The New York Yankees' RBI leader Ronald Torreyes stepped up and came through in a massive way; smoking a triple into the right-center field gap, plating both runners to shrink their deficit to just one. Unfortunately, Brett Gardner left that tying run stranded on third base by striking out to end the sixth.
Sabathia did something today that no other Yankee starter has been able to achieve so far in 2017: make it through six innings. And if C.C. would have been able to field the comebacker cleanly and throw Jones out at first, Torreyes' triple would have been good enough to tie the game. But, it didn't play out that way and he left with a final line of six innings pitched, allowing three runs on six hits while walking four and striking out three.
The Bombers completed their comeback by tying the game in the top of the eighth. All-Star right-hander Michael Givins came on in relief of Wilson and coughed up a majestic solo blast to Aaron Judge that cleared the wall in left to pull the Yankees even at three apiece. And I got to tell you, it was so nice to see the tables turned completely and watch the Yankees come back and spoil the Orioles lead for a welcomed change.
As previously stated, the "Walkfest" continued and was a major contributing factor as to the Yankees taking a late-inning lead for the first time in this series. Darren O'Day came on to pitch the ninth and started the frame by walking Matt Holliday for his career-high fifth walk of the game. Jacoby Ellsbury came on to pinch run for Holliday and had an immediate impact by swiping second on the second pitch of Chris Carter's at bat. Carter was also walked and subsequently was pinch ran for by Pete Kozma. Starlin Castro then ripped a single up the middle that scored Ellsbury to put the Pinstripers up by one. Chase Headley also walked, loading the bases with Kozma at third and Castro at second. Aaron Judge grounded out to first base which scored Kozma to make it a two run game. And when Romine followed with a sacrifice fly to score Castro, the throw got away to also allow Headley to score to make it a 7-3 ballgame. Even though it wasn't a save situation, Aroldis Chapman came on to shut the door in the ninth and secure the Yankees' second victory of the young season.
The Bombers travel home for the first time in 2017 tonight to get ready for tomorrow's much-anticipated home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. With it being Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, the game is scheduled to begin at a special Monday start time of 1:05 PM/EST.