After an opening series sweep of the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles headed south for a showdown with Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees.
The Yankees came out swinging in this series, scoring 14 runs in the first two games, and Orioles pitching didn’t hold up quite as well as they did in series number one.
Before things got ugly, this game was a pitchers duel between Orioles starter Jorge López and Yankee starter Jordan Montgomery. Entering the fourth inning, the score was locked in at 0-0.
In the fourth, Aaron Judge found the outfield bleachers for the first home run allowed by the Orioles this season, as this made it a 1-0 game in the Yankees’ favor.
Things got real ugly for the birds in the fifth inning, when López walked three straight batters. Shawn Armstrong came on in relief, seeing his first action since he was put on paternity leave at the end of spring training. Armstrong walked in the Yankees’ second run, then allowed an absolute laser of a grand slam by Giancarlo Stanton that traveled 471 feet. This put the Yankees up 7-0.
One highlight of this game was the Major League debut of Mac Sceroler, who is the nephew of former O’s pitcher, Ben McDonald. Maybe the worst situation to have a debut in MLB history, Sceroler came into the game with bases loaded, one out, and Aaron Judge at the plate. Miraculously, Sceroler struck Judge out looking with a fastball, then forced Aaron Hicks to pop out for the third out. Welcome to The Show, Mac!
This game also saw the Major League debut for Ryan McKenna, who got the start in right field. Welcome to The Show, Ryan!
The first game of this series was the first loss for both the Orioles and Jorge López. The Birds fell to 3-1 and López fell to 0-1.
The Baltimore Battery Player of the Game is undoubtedly Rule 5 pick, Mac Sceroler. In his debut, Sceroler went 2.2 scoreless, hitless innings, striking out four in the process.
Gerrit Cole was on the mound for the Yankees in this second game, and you can guess how that went. The Orioles struck out 13 times and only mustered up four hits against the Yankee ace.
For the Orioles, Dean Kremer got his first start of the season. Much like in 2020, Kremer struggled heavily with first pitch strikes and quickly gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the second inning off a Jay Bruce home run. Kremer then allowed two more runs in the fourth, giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
Adam Plutko came out of the bullpen and again was very impressive. The newest Oriole tossed three scoreless innings, making that 5.1 scoreless for Plutko on the season.
The Yankees would then add four more runs in the seventh and eighth innings, with a Giancarlo Stanton double and a three-run home run by Aaron Judge, respectively.
Down 7-0 with two outs in the ninth, Rio Ruiz decided to end the Orioles’ streak of not hitting any home runs. He sent a ball barely over the right field fence, scoring himself and Ryan Mountcastle. This made the final score 7-2.
The Orioles dropped this series and fell to 3-2 on the year. Dean Kremer got the lost and dropped to 0-1.
Adam Plutko is The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game for this one, as he tossed three more scoreless innings of relief for the Birds.
We got to see John Means for the second time this season, and this time with a chance to avoid a series sweep in the Bronx.
Much like his Opening Day outing, Means did very well mixing up his pitches and kept the ball off the bat of Yankee hitters for the most part. Through 4.2 innings, the Yankees did collect seven hits; however, only one run came from that.
In the fourth inning, the absolute red hot Cedric Mullins kept his streak going, hammering a 407-foot home run to the bleachers in right field. Two at-bats later, Anthony Santander joined the party with a 400+-foot home run of his own that gave the Orioles their first lead of the series at 2-1.
In relief of John Means was Dillon Tate, who got through a clean inning worth of work. Tanner Scott then came on, throwing another clean 1.1 innings of work, where he sat right around 98 mph on his fastball. Scott even reached 100 mph on a strikeout to Brett Gardner to end the sixth.
Shawn Armstrong ran into some trouble in the eighth inning, as Ryan Mountcastle misplayed a Gary Sánchez fly ball in left that turned into a single. Gio Urshela then scored pinch runner Mike Tauchman from first on a bang-bang play at the plate. This tied the game at 2-2.
Free baseball! This game headed into the tenth, after César Valdez forced Stanton into a ground ball out to end the ninth inning still tied at 2-2.
Finally in the top of the tenth, the Orioles broke the tie and went up 3-2. A routine ground ball to short by Pedro Severino was botched by Gleyber Torres, who spiked the throw to first, right past the glove of Jay Bruce. This error allowed Santander to score from third.
After nearly three innings of work, Valdez made one single bad pitch. This one pitch allowed the Yankees to tie the game in the tenth off a Kyle Higashioka single to right field.
Again in the eleventh, the Orioles went ahead 4-3. After a perfect sacrifice bunt by Freddy Galvis, Chance Sisco scored the runner from third on his first base hit of the season.
Now in the bottom of the eleventh, the Orioles defense finally came through. With a runner on third and one out, Anthony Santander caught a fly ball and then threw out Gio Urshela on a perfect throw at home by at least three steps!
The Orioles held on for a win in game three and improve their record to 4-2.
I think it’s easy to say that The Baltimore Battery Player of the Game is easily Anthony Santander, who blasted his first homer of the year and secured the win with an amazing outfield assist.
The Orioles finally come to Baltimore for their home opener Thursday, as they begin a three-game series against the Red Sox.