Freddy Garcia’s evening started innocently enough as the first batter, Endy Chavez flew out weakly to center. But then J.J. Hardy crushed a fastball that tailed over the plate for a homer to tie the game. Garcia then walked Nick Markakis. Adam Jones flew out and then Matt Wieters singled. Garcia’s first wild pitch while facing Nick Johnson moved Markakis to third and Wieters to second. A second wild pitch plated Markakis for the Orioles’ second run. Nick Johnson grounded out to end the inning.
Chen settled down after the first inning and retired the Yankees in order in the second, third and fourth innings. Garcia surrendered a walk to Mark Reynolds in the second, but Reynolds was thrown out at second on a failed Hit and Run. The Yankees’ starter set the Orioles down in order in the third but ran into further trouble in the fourth.
Adam Jones led off the inning with a double and then wild pitch number three sent him to third. Wieters walked. Nick Johnson grounded to first but Jones scored from third when Russell Martin couldn’t handle the ball at home for an error. Wild pitch number four moved Wieters to third. Garcia then struck out Mark Reynolds. With Chris Davis at the plate, the Yankees moved Jeter to the other side of second base. Davis hit the ball between Cano, who was deep in the second base hole, and Jeter. But Jeter ranged far to his left, dove full out and snagged the ball, jumped to his feet at threw Davis out at first to save another run. And I still cannot believe I just typed that sentence. But the proof is in the highlight here.
Chen gave up singles to Russell Martin and Brett Gardner in the top of the fifth but escaped the inning without the Yankees scoring. Freddy Garcia could not do the same in the bottom of the fifth.
Robert Andino started the bottom of the fifth with a double and was bunted to third by Chavez. Hardy grounded out to Jeter to make it two outs. Garcia then uncorked his fifth wild pitch that scored Andino to make it 4-1. After Garcia hit Markakis with a pitch, Joe Girardi had seen enough and brought in David Phelps. Phelps got Adam Jones to bounce into a force out to end the inning.
The Yankees tied the game with three runs in the top of the sixth with a little help from Mark Reynolds. Robinson Cano led off with a single. Alex Rodriguez flew out to deep right. Teixeira singled and Granderson walked to load the bases with one out. Andruw Jones flew out to right center to score Cano and Teixeira moved to third. Russell Martin then grounded a ball to third that should have ended the inning. But Reynolds made a mess of it and Teixeira scored to make it 4-3. Gardner pulled a clean single to right and Granderson scored to tie the game. The unlucky Chen was then pulled with the score tied and his chance to win his debut gone by the wayside. Jeter grounded out to end the inning.
And that is how the score stayed until the top of the twelfth inning. David Phelps was fantastic in relief. He pitched two and a third innings of no-hit ball with no walks allowed. He struck out four. Mr. Phelps is making the best of his first impression in the big leagues. David Robertson threw a scoreless inning in the eighth. Boone Logan faced one batter in the ninth and gave up a hit. Cory Wade came in and did his best David Robertson impression. After a single and an intentional walk, Wade faced a bases loaded situation with two outs. But he escaped by getting Hardy to pop up.
Wade ended up pitching two and a third innings himself and was nearly as impressive as Phelps. Meanwhile, the Yankees could not score off a quartet of Orioles’ relievers. Clay Rapada relieved Wade in the bottom of the eleventh with one out and got his two men, one via strikeout.
Pedro Strop, the Orioles’ sixth pitcher in the game pitched a scoreless inning in the eleventh. But he gave up a double to Robinson Cano to start the twelfth. An Alex Rodriguez ground out moved Cano to third with one out. Mark Teixeira could not plate the run as he grounded right to the second baseman of a drawn in infield. With two outs, Orioles’ manager, Buck Showalter, decided to walk Curtis Granderson and take his chances with Raul Ibanez and it would have worked if Strop had simply stayed with his 96 MPH heater. Ibanez had swung and missed two of them to get in a two-strike hole. It appeared that Ibanez could not hit that fastball and Orioles’ broadcaster and Hall of Fame pitcher, Jim Palmer, said as much. But Strop inexplicably threw Ibanez a rolling slider and Ibanez crushed it for a ground rule double. Mr. Palmer was quite calm as he basically stated how dumb that pitch was. The Yankees had a one-run lead and handed the ball to Mariano Rivera.
The great Yankee closer struck out two and broke two bats to record his first save of the season and the Yankees improved their record to 2-3. The Orioles fell to 3-2 after winning their first three games.
Derek Jeter: The aging Captain went two for six including the homer and saved a run with his sprawling stop off the bat of Chris Davis.
David Phelps: Phelps was perfect and impressive and gave the Yankees a chance to get into the game.
Corey Wade and Clay Rapada: Super in relief and Rapada recorded his first win in a Yankee uniform.
Mariano Rivera: His first save is in the books and we can breathe easier.
Raul Ibanez and Brett Gardner: Each picked up two hits. Gardner’s single tied the game at four and Ibanez won it with his double.
Alex Rodriguez: Went hitless in five at bats and is zero for his last nine.
Freddy Garcia: It will be a long while before we forget a game with five wild pitches.
The Yankees have a chance to sweep the Orioles and even up their record with the final game of the series Wednesday night. C.C. Sabathia will try to win his first start of the season and will face Jake Arrieta, the Orioles impressive young pitcher (1-0). The game will start at 7:05.